York City School District Faces 29 Million Dollar Budget Deficit; Parents and Students Stepping Up to Help

The City of York's School District faces a $29 million budget gap that needs to be closed no later than June 30th.  On paper, the district's superintendent says the budget is balanced, but the question is, at what costs.  Sports, Arts, and Music Teachers, along with Guidance Counselors, and Kindergarten are on the chopping block.  Core teachers, who are certified to teach specials, will be required to do so.

"It's the expertise of the of those specialists and we need that expertise," said Dr. Deborah Wortham, York City School District Superintendent.  "I can play twinkle, twinkle little star and I think I'm pretty good at it but that's not all our children need as far as music."

Some parents and students have come together to help save the programs.  Mandolynn Ferrere is a drum major at William Penn Senior High School.  She, along with her mom, and several others started a petition to save the city's 90 year old music program.  They plan to send it all the way to Governor Tom Corbett's office.

"90 years," said Kim Ferrere, parent and York City School Alumnae. “How can we dissolve that in a budget cut? That’s ridiculous.”

Dr. Wortham sites charter school payments as contributing factors.  She says the city has paid $77 million to the schools over the past six years and has only been reimbursed $14 million.  Moreover, the city discovered a $10 million shortfall this year that was added to the $19 million it already had.  Dr. Wortham told FOX43 News she's confident the community, legislators, the Secretary of Education, and the Governor will her the city's pleas and such drastic cuts will not have to be made.

50 teachers have already been informed that they will not return to the classroom this fall.