Dear Community Members:
On behalf of the Board of School Directors, District Administrators, Faculty, and Staff, I would like to welcome all of our students back for another exciting school year! While we are extremely excited about the year to come, we must proceed with caution as the educational environment in Pennsylvania continues to change considerably.
The Punxsutawney Area School District is committed to delivering the best academic and extra-curricular programming possible. During the summer months, we have acquired new Language Arts text books for all students K-12, hired four enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers,updated our technology infrastructure, and completed several projects to improve our facilities.
We are very thankful that we have been able to maintain our facilities, programs, and personnel while many districts across Pennsylvania are closing schools, cutting back on full-day Kindergarten, and furloughing teachers. This was possible due to sound financial practices – past and present. As a result, the district maintains a healthy reserve fund for use in times of emergency, has created a reserve to help pay for the predicted spike in retirement costs, and has a fund set aside for capital projects as needed in the future. The district has managed finances in a very effective and efficient manner while maintaining a millage rate of 25.14. The development of the 2011-2012 Budget was particularly challenging due to the Governor’s drastic reduction in state funding for education. Changes to our programs and procedures are minor for the 2011-2012 school year. This can continue as long as we follow our plan of reducing personnel when possible through attrition. We will also need to determine whether or not we can maintain six separate elementary buildings when four of them serve less than 90 students each. If we continue to see cuts in state funding and are faced with more unfunded mandates, such as vouchers as well as charter and cyber charter schools that are paid for with public school tax dollars, developing a balanced budget while maintaining programs will become much more difficult in future years.
I am adding a set of links to this page in an effort to give community members another opportunity to share thoughts, concerns, and suggestions on how we can improve our educational system. Please click on the first link to register with the site and then click on the second link to share what’s on your mind.
As always, I encourage you to actively engage in our school system by attending events listed on our District Calendar.
Dr. Keith S.Wolfe