The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 17, 2014

Warrior Run faces $900G deficit

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— TURBOTVILLE — The Warrior Run School District, facing a preliminary budget deficit of more than $900,000, is continuing to look for savings, particularly in terms of staffing.

Each year, the district conducts a staffing study to determine its needs, and those results and staffing plans for the 2014-15 school year were shared by administrators during a school board work session Monday. No plans call for staff furloughs.

Overall enrollment in the district is down 13.2 percent compared to nine years ago, Superintendent John Kurelja said. Professional staff is down 7.8 percent in the same period; administrative staff is down 13.3 percent.

At the elementary level next year, students may be shuffled as they enroll to even out class sizes, particularly in second grade, according to district officials.

At the middle school, there will be five fifth-grade sections instead of six to accommodate enrollment changes, and two retiring teachers will be replaced by just one teacher, Principal Susan Mabus said.

At the high school, enrollment should remain flat, with one physical education teacher retiring, Principal Patti Cross said. That teacher will be replaced by sharing a physical education teacher with the middle school.

New programs at the high school will include an AP calculus course, PSAT testing and discussions about dual enrollment with Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, where students could earn both high school and college credits in approved, selected courses.

“We’re pretty excited” about the new programs, Cross said.

She said the dual enrollment program “is in Penn College’s hands now,” with the district waiting for approval for the 11th- and 12th-grade courses, which would be taught by Warrior Run teachers at the high school.

The district also presented a report on special education in the district, which will be voted on at the board’s April meeting, Kurelja said.

With the number of autistic students quadrupling in the last 10 years and about 20 students requiring emotional disturbance services, many students now require out-of-district services, Special Education Supervisor Julie Petrin said.

By shuffling teachers into new roles to meet autistic and emotional support needs, most students can be served in the district, she said, saving the district $194,000 on out-of-district services.

The plan will be posted to wrsd.org, Petrin said.

“We are anticipating a savings despite adding staff,” Kurelja said.