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Teacher Layoffs Possible in Selinsgrove | News

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Teacher Layoffs Possible in Selinsgrove
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The Selinsgrove Area School District meets Tuesday night to discuss a proposal to layoff teachers and raise property taxes.  The superintendent said the layoffs are needed to prevent cuts to extra-curricular activities.

The Selinsgrove Area School Board meets at 7 p.m. and is expected to vote on a plan that the district's superintendent said would trim $700,000 from the budget by laying off 15 teachers.

The Selinsgrove Area School District has almost 3,000 students and just over 200 teachers, but that second number may change if the school board approves a plan for layoffs.

"Districts are being forced to examine how they operate and where they can cut expenses.  As a school district, the biggest expense is personnel," said Superintendent Chad Cohrs.

"That's very tough.  Nobody wants to be laid off.  I'm hoping they're exploring other options, because that's not good for anybody," said Alice Stelter of Selinsgrove.

Cohrs said the district previously discussed cutting certain athletic, music and art programs, but  laying off teachers would save these extracurricular activities.

"We're able to continue to offer the same courses, not including class sizes, but be able to reduce some staff," said Cohrs.

He added if the layoffs happen, the district will add one class period to the school day.  The classes will be shorter, and faculty will teach four periods each day instead of three.

In addition to eliminating 15 teaching positions, the proposed budget also includes a 2.3 mil tax increase which would raise property taxes by an average of $62 a household.

"It's a really bad time to raise taxes. The unemployment rate has not recovered yet.  I'm struggling," said Jeff Necessary of Shamokin Dam.

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