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Our opinion: Five years to solve budget issue

We know changes are coming to the way schools are funded in Pennsylvania.

What those changes will be, no one knows.

Officials in rural areas like Warren County are pinning their hopes that the state aid funding formula reflects the difficulties of paying for a good education in areas where populations and tax base are declining. But there is no guarantee that the state’s updated funding formulas will reflect that reality. There is no guarantee that rural areas won’t lose out to urban, high needs school districts in bigger cities.

That means the Warren County School District board has five years, by its estimation, to come figure out how to pay for its current programs before the district starts running deficits.

“The school district really needs to watch the spending over the next five years,” Jim Grosch, district business services director, told board members recently. “Five years out is when the deficit occurs.”

We have two options locally — assume the state will treat rural districts fairly or prepare for the possibility that no further help is coming from Harrisburg.

In our opinion, the district should put all its options on the table — and the public should be prepared for the possibility that major changes may be coming to balance the books in five years.

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