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Sto-Rox: 28% of budget going to charter schools

Raelyn Day has been promoted to principal of the Sto-Rox Jr/Sr High School.

By Elizabeth Perry

The Sto-Rox School District business manager presented the preliminary school budget for the 2023-24 school year during the director’s May meeting.

Expenditures are anticipated at $34.793 million and of that, $8 million, or 28% of the budget is going to be spent on the charter school tuition for 607 students.

The expiration of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds only stands to increase the cost of charter tuition, Business Manager Paul Sroka said. Currently, the district receives $4.446 million in ESSERs funding. After this coming school year, the district will be required to make up that difference in some way.

“We hope the legislature has a fair funding formula before next school year, which will assist with our difficulties,” Superintendent Megan Van Fossan said. Additionally, Van Fossan said the administration would continue to work on procuring grants and bringing students back from charter schools.

“The reality is there needs to be a combination of approaches,” she said.

The projected funds outpace the expected expenditures by $1.416 million meaning the district should have a slight surplus at the end of the year. The district is on a state-imposed economic recovery plan.

Staffing changes

Sroka resigned after the budgetary presentation. According to the district, he will be replaced by Nate Fisher of J. Martin and Associates. Sroka is leaving to become the business manager of the Aliquippa School District in Beaver County.

In other staffing news:

  • Raelyn Day was promoted from vice principal to the high school principal on Thursday, June 1 taking over for Acting Principal Michael Hauser. Hauser began with the district in March after Principal Kim Price resigned citing burnout. Day was hired in January as assistant principal for grades 10-12.

  • Brian Worst resigned as director of technology effective May 17, bringing the number of administrators up to four who have resigned, along with 16 teachers.

  • Deborah Finklang and Michael Gupp retired after 19 and 24 years of service respectively. This brings the number of retirements up to six teachers and one administrator for the year.

The district has been placed under a state-mandated financial recovery plan, and Van Fossan had said the uncertainty had driven many educators in the district to find other employment. A recent three-year contract settled between the administration and the teachers union should put to rest some of those anxieties, said Van Fossan.


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