ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown School District says it doesn't have the money to be all things to all students. And now more than 160 positions and numerous programs could be on the chopping block.
In a standing room only meeting Thursday night the Allentown School District Superintendent made a painful announcement, up to 151 teaching jobs and about 11 administrative positions might be eliminated.
"It will effect high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools," explained Dr. C. Russell Mayo. "Programs are being looked at and adjusted at every level k through 12."
The district is facing a $22.5-million budget gap, the cuts would reduce that by $11-million and help re-focus teaching on academics.
"Urban education has become very burdened with with the psychological needs of kids, a lot of needs that we need to address but we can't address them all by ourselves," shared Mayo.
The proposed changes touch almost every area of the district from cutting full day kindergarten to eliminating gym, library, art and music in the elementary schools. Mayo says those programs will still be available, just not from ASD staff.
"We're gonna have to look at how we can partner with someone to help us cover those needs cuz we just cant afford the time or the resources in personnel," he added.
He says utilizing community partnerships could be the answer. The Baum School of Art in Allentown is one non-profit used to working with the district.
"It's a free after school program for children from 10 of the elementary schools in the Allentown School District," shared Executive Director Shannon Slattery Fugate.
She says they're open to doing more.
"If there's a way we can provide some services or help to make sure art remains an important part of every child's education, we want to help."
Slattery Fugate tells us a meeting between the non-profit and school officials is already in the works to talk things over. But adds everything costs something.
"We just have to think of innovative ways to make sure that our children receive the kind of education they really need in Allentown," explained Slattery Fugate.
The proposed cuts will be discussed in more detail at next week's school finance meeting.
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