Pittsburgh Public Schools asked for moratorium on closings

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The Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network Education Task Force today called on Pittsburgh Public Schools to place a moratorium on school closings until the community impact of past closings can be studied.

If the effects have been detrimental, Irene Haberman, task force chair, said, "We want to make sure that's not going to happen elsewhere in the city."

She said the studies, which may be undertaken by the network, could take two years.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane noted she had declared a moratorium on school closings for 2013-14.

She said, "We have remained true to that and are not planning any school closures this year. I have been transparent with the public all along that I do not see a way to fully address our finances without looking at under-enrolled schools. I fully understand PIIN's concerns, and I am open to any ideas they or others can bring forward to avoid such a recommendation. I plan to bring the Board of Directors the best plan we can develop."

The task force named these areas of the city: Hazelwood, Hill Top, Knoxville/Beltzhoover/Bon Air, Hill District, East Liberty, Lincoln/Larimer, North Side, Homewood, East Hills, and Bloomfield-Garfield.

The task force also called for being "vocal advocates for local, state and federal resources and polices that will benefit our schools, including corporate and large nonprofit institutions that are established in the city and profit from the city."

It also urged consideration of making schools more of a resource to communities.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is in the midst of an "envisioning" process for its future. On Thursday evening, draft recommendations included closing more elementary schools although a number and names were not released.

District officials forecast a budget deficit of $46.3 million by 2016 unless the district changes course.

Update:(Published August 17, 2013) The superintendent's response was added in a later version of this story.

Correction/Clarification: (Published xxxxxx, 2010) education - neigh_city

Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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