Some area districts already seeing impact to budget as they await release of Level Up funds

School is back in session, but some of the poorest districts in our state are still waiting.

“Every day I have to determine what bill I pay that’s literally as simple as I can make it,” said Megan Van Fossan, who’s the Sto-Rox Superintendent.

Sto-Rox is just one of the districts waiting on lawmakers to release the $100 million in Level Up Funding. It goes into the general fund and is used to provide extra support to districts that need it.

“Last year we used the money for after-school programs, tutoring, additional supplemental programming resources, adaptations for students,” said Dr. Daniel Castagna, who’s the Woodland Hills Superintendent.

Woodland Hills passed its budget in June banking on the over $1 million this year. But two weeks into the year and they’ve had to pull from the reserve to keep things going and anticipate feeling a bigger impact the longer lawmakers hold out.

“At the end of the day, we are making promises to districts that are trying to balance very fragile budgets,” Castagna said.

Van Fossan couldn’t agree more, saying no matter when the money comes, it’s coming too late.

“When we think about the furnace, we are literally putting one in right now so come October our kids are warm,” Van Fossan said.

Add in two leaking school roofs and it’s clear this money essentially helps keep the lights on and education going for these communities.

“I invite lawmakers to our building, come see my reality, come the decisions I have to make every single day, come see the faces of our kids, hear their stories and you’ll have the reason why you need to do what you need to do in Harrisburg,” Van Fossan said.

These districts don’t even know how much money they will be getting, let alone when.

Channel 11 talked to State Senator Jay Costa who said there is no movement on the release of this funding and the earliest they will discuss, or vote is when lawmakers return to session at the end of this month.

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