Sto-Rox may fall $2.5M short
The Sto-Rox School District could run out of money by May if it doesn't get a loan to tide it over until property tax revenue starts coming in, the school board president said Friday.
"We could miss payroll and then the state would come in and take over," said board president Kevin Kochirka, 39, of Stowe.
Kochirka said the district could need as much as a $3 million infusion, but called that a "worst-case scenario." He said it is more likely the district will need $2 million to $2.5 million.
To be approved for an emergency loan, the district would have to file a petition in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court and have it approved by a judge.
Kochirka said unexpected expenses, including a water leak at one school and failed sewer pumps at another, have exhausted the district's budget. He also cited charter school bills that were double what was expected.
Districts are responsible for paying for children who attend charter schools.
"We don't have a very big tax base," said board vice president Lenora Karpa, 61, of Stowe. "This is two poor towns. We just can't raise taxes constantly."
Karpa said it's too early to tell which programs in the district could fall under the budget ax.
The district hopes to avoid falling under state control again, as it did in 1992. The state raised taxes and laid off teachers to get the district's finances in order, Karpa said.