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April 23, 2014

Cohrs: Add to revenue, or prep padlocks

SELINSGROVE — If the Selinsgrove Area School District doesn’t bring in more revenue, it may face closure, Superintendent Chad Cohrs told school board members Tuesday night.

The district, he said, is financially unstable.

“We are on the edge of continuing as a district or being nonexistent,” Cohrs said during his state of the district presentation. “It’s time to make a change.”

Raising taxes isn’t the answer, Cohrs said.

“We can’t raise them high enough to cover our operating expenses,” he said.

Cohrs said the three biggest challenges the district faces are salaries, pensions and health care.

Other areas of concern Cohrs brought to the board’s attention were system problems within the district.

“Did you ever try sending an email with a typewriter?” Cohrs asked the board. “We need a system upgrade. We have educators who need more time because of the increased responsibility.”

One example from Cohrs: 53 students from grades K-12 attend cyber or charter schools, 15 have dropped out of Selinsgrove schools, 41 are in the district’s own hybrid system and 81 are home-schooled.

Selinsgrove needs to be able to handle all of those students under a new plan, Cohrs said.

In his 30-minute address, Cohrs said he gave the same presentation to about 50 employees — and they had the same look on their faces.

“They were also stunned,” he said. “But this needs to be addressed.”

Cohrs said he doesn’t have all the answers, but he has some suggestions.

“Let’s get every stake holder in this district involved,” he said. “Let’s have discussions and let’s get ideas together.”

Board member Roger Sheesley thanked Cohrs for the presentation.

“We are not a district that is burying our heads in the sand,” he said. “We are willing to face it and address it.”

 

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