Carlisle Schools Battle Years of Deficit

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The school year is not over,  but the Carlisle Area School District is already planning to be in the red next year.

As taxes continue to rise, residents have questions.

Carlisle has had a school budget deficit for the last five years and the district admits, it’s not sustainable.

The business office is already working on next year’s plan.

“Expenses exceed revenue by $4.8 million,” said the district’s finance director Shawn Farr.

That proposed deficit is one million dollars more than last year’s deficit.

Farr says the budget isn’t done yet, but the district expects it to be nearly $86 million.

“All school districts in Pennsylvania have been heavily weighed down by the public school employees retirement system,” said Farr.

The district has been getting by by raising taxes and using extra money left over from previous years. But because of repeated deficits, that fund has dwindled to less than ten million dollars.

Farr says the district has to plan for students long-term.

“Whatever changes you’re going to make in a school district, you don’t want to rush into it,” said Farr. “We’re going to have to make changes, but they’re not necessarily changes that will be negative. Hopefully, they’ll be positive.”

Still, some residents say they’re worried about rising taxes.

Jolene Morrow has lived in Carlisle for 11 years.

“Five years, it’s not working…then something’s not right and they should be looking at other ways to find the money,” said Morrow. “I mean, we all want to pitch in and help but if it’s not working, something’s broken. You need to look at why.”

The business office is scheduled to give the school board an exact budget in April, and the board is set to vote on that in June.

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