Neshaminy School Board President Ritchie Webb participated in a live online town hall meeting, hosted by the Courier Times, Thursday evening when he compared Neshaminy School District's current contract woes to the issues plaguing the Centennial School District.
"The bottom line is if we ever sign a contact that we cannot afford, we would end up in a Centennial situation," Webb said.
According to Warminster Patch, the Centennial is looking at not only a this year, but is also projecting even larger deficits within the next few years as the district's PSERS contribution requirements continue to rise. Centennial has also consolidated its elementary schools from six to three and eliminated some staff as a result, but the school board is in preparation of the looming deficits.
In the town hall, Webb stated that the district cannot raise taxes, the revenue stream has gone down and the district's expenses are up.
In the Neshaminy Federation of Teacher's latest contract proposal, the union suggested that the district raise taxes and take money out of its reserves to afford the contract. However, Webb stated that the district cannot do any of those things and that the district has about $40 million worth of needs for the buildings.
In order to afford the union's latest contract offer, Webb stated that the school board would have to "deplete our reserves, or a big chunk of it," which he said would both "devestate" the district and be "foolish."
According to Webb, the Neshaminy School Board predicted Centennial's current situation.
"I have said from day one that we cannot sign a contract that we cannot afford. You can’t lay off a teacher for economic reasons; you have to cut a program or close a school," he said.
"Our schools were built for the children, not for the teachers," Webb stated.
Webb also addressed Neshaminy's last contract, which the Neshaminy teachers are still working under though it's expired.
"It was unaffordable from the day it was signed."