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With more than $6 million in state aid past due, the Lackawanna Board of Education on Wednesday approved borrowing up to $5 million, if needed, for the district to pay its bills.

Financial adviser Sameh Masry said he has not been able to obtain assurances from the state about when the aid will be forthcoming as a result of the late adoption of a state budget. The district has more than $1 million on hand, enough to meet its immediate needs, but will soon face other obligations, he said.

On another matter, resident Joseph DiCenzo asked about the low test scores for eighth-graders reported Wednesday.

Superintendent Paul G. Hashem replied that while not as good as he would like, the scores have improved in each of the past three years, which is contrary to the local and national trend. The middle school is on a state list of schools in need of improvement, Hashem said.

The district will join other area districts and have a split break instead of two weeks off at Easter, beginning with the 2004-05 school year.

One break will be from Feb. 21 to 25, 2005, and the other will be from March 25 to April 1, 2005.


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