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Budget process doesn't work

Concerns over the state budget hit home in State College yesterday in the story that's the talk of the Web.

The school board is faced with uncertainty, like every board in this state, and is looking to make whatever funding it gets from the state work.

It's anticipating scenarios, and that's good budget thinking.

But it shouldn't be this way. It is ridiculous that the state won't pass its budgets before the school districts, and that this is not considered a problem in Harrisburg.

The school districts will make out well in the end. They always do. They're much better off than the many programs that may lose some or all state funding this year.

But school boards should not have to guess when approving their own budgets. It doesn't make sense.

In Harrisburg they're faced with the toughest choices in years. Any decision they make will be bad news, and so there's no political incentive to make that decision early.

Couple that with the fact that Gov. Ed Rendell has yet to preside over an on-time budget, so you have a scenario of a July or later tax increase/budget approval.

The school boards will have to wait and see. But after it's over, they should push along with all other Pennsylvanians to change the budget process in Harrisburg. It's not working, and everyone has to see that.

We'll talk about it later. Coming Sunday, look for the start of a three-part, well timed series in the CDT on school funding concerns -- present and future. Schools writer Ed Mahon has been working on this and I think you'll find it interesting.