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Woodland Hills Budget Proposal Includes Furloughs, Increase In Property Taxes

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Katie Blackley
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90.5 WESA
Woodland Hills Junior-Senior High School in Churchill, Pa. on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

  The Woodland Hills School District is proposing a plan to furlough up to 70 positions and raise property taxes by 3 percent in the face of a $5 million budget deficit.

Jamie Glasser, school board president, said this is not an easy decision for the board.

“We’re not doing anything maliciously,” she said “It’s not our intention to hurt teachers. Our teachers are amazing…but at the same time we have to be responsible and good stewards of the public trust.”

Glasser said the district has had a difficult couple of years and has avoided tax increases in the past, but now the pressure is on the budget.

“A tax increase is hard, it’s hard to vote for that,” she said.

Glasser said the board considered all possible options, but ultimately needs to think about the financial stability of the district.

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Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
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90.5 WESA
The hallway of Woodland Hills High School on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Earlier that day, educators and staff protested proposed budget cuts.

 

“There was a lot of conversation about the impacts of not reconfiguring and what that would look like, and that was pretty untenable because it would have involved significant cuts to programs and academic cuts that we were not willing to entertain,” she said.

 

Educators and staff protested Tuesday outside the Jr./Sr. High School. They say the district doesn’t need to cut positions.

Phillip Woods, Woodland Hills Jr./Sr. High School principal, said the district got to this point in part because of a decline in enrollment, an increase in number of students going to charter and online schools and an increase in pension payments as teachers retire.

The school board plans to vote on the proposal on June 19.

The Woodland Hill School District serves roughly 3,200 students in Braddock, Braddock Hills, Chalfant, Churchill, East Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Forest Hills, North Braddock, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek and Wilkins Township.

 

Rachel Gobep is the newsroom production assistant at WESA. She began reporting at Youngstown State University’s student-run newspaper, The Jambar, as a freshman in college, and is now the editor-in-chief of the paper.
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