School districts would be permitted to order teacher furloughs to cut costs under a measure recently unveiled as part of a larger legislative package sponsored by the Republican and Democratic Chairs of the Senate Education Committee.

Senators Jeff Piccola, R-Dauphin and Andrew Dinniman, DChester said that with the state facing a $4 billion deficit cutting costs in the state’s 501 school districts is urgent.

“About 80 percent of the reports that have to be sent into the state, no one ever reads except my staff and Chairman Piccola’s staff,” Dinniman said referring to another bill in the package..

“So I want to give them a break this year from submitting nonessential reports, and then, take the time to permanently reduce the reports they send to the state that no one ever reads and no one ever uses.”

The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials and the Pennsylvania School Boards (PSBA) both support the package.

The PSBA issued a statement after the unveiling of the bills.

“Unfunded and underfunded mandates continue to hinder school district budgets across Pennsylvania. In these challenging economic times, it is essential that the Commonwealth take a strong look at the genesis of the mandates it has imposed on local school districts, re-evaluate their purposes, and find ways to reduce and, more importantly, eliminate the mandates that do not allow school districts to operate effectively and efficiently. “

Other bills in the package do the following:

  • Loosen teacher certification requirements;
  • Allow school districts to meet their legal advertising requirements by Internet, where they are now required to place ads in newspapers;
  • Elimination in the state law of 10 paid sick days per year and paid sabbatical leave;
  • Review and overhaul of the Department of Education’s process for school construction.