HBG SD budget fails to include funding for key positions despite state mandate to fill
Could the budget issues within Harrisburg School District have been prevented if it had followed advice given years ago?
The Pennsylvania Department of Education sent the Harrisburg School board members a letter telling them to hire both a permanent full-time business manager and a chief financial officer.
As it stands now Bilal Hasan serves as the district’s acting business manager. James Snell serves as their part time, interim CFO.
Board Vice President Danielle Robinson says those two are doing just fine and doesn’t see the need to change anything.
“Mr. Snell is doing an excellent job as interim, I don't see a reason to put him in as permanent unless he wants to... I don't want anyone to be under the impression Mr. Hasan isn't doing a great job,” said Robinson.
Robinson went on to say she does not know where the board would find the money to change or hire for the chief financial officer or business manager positions. Right now, there is not a line in the budget for either position.
"We're going to pull money here for a position that's already being taken care of and he's doing an excellent job in it, so, why would we change that?" she said.
In 2016, Hasan was passed over to become the permanent business manager because, according to a school board meeting document, they wanted a "senior experienced person" instead.
Board member Carrie Fowler says it’s time for a change within the administration.
“We’re in an $8 million dollar deficit right now. We need all hands on deck, we need qualified individuals that understand how to balance a budget, how to do the appropriate cuts,” said Fowler.
According to the letter and an audit by an outside company a permanent full-time CFO is required within the district’s Act 141 recovery plan. Fowler says they’re clearly in violation.
“I believe our children deserve the best, they deserve a quality education, and right now we’re failing them in every way possible,” said Fowler.
We reached out the PDE and the district for a response and clarification on what happens next. We’re waiting to hear back.