W. Jefferson, S. Allegheny reject merger with Clairton

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The West Jefferson Hills School Board has rejected a proposal by the Clairton School District to discuss a future merger or consolidation of the two districts.

In addition, the Clairton district today receive a letter from the South Allegheny School District stating that it is not interested in pursuing a merger, but would continue to share transportation costs and "remain open to creative ways to share services," according to Clairton Superintendent Lucille Abellonio.

The West Jefferson board voted 9-0 Tuesday in response to the letter that was sent to acting Superintendent Timothy McNamee on April 20 from Ms. Abellonio.

In her letter, Ms. Abellonio cites Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget cuts as the reason for seeking a merger. Because of the cuts, she wrote that "many districts are facing severe budget shortfalls which may result in curtailment of programs and staff furloughs. We would like to explore the possibility of a future consolidation/merger of our districts."

In her letter, Ms. Abellonio said that her district was contacting West Jefferson Hills, Elizabeth Forward, West Mifflin and South Allegheny.

Ms. Abellonio said in an email that her district's budget is currently balanced and the district is solvent, but that "based on the current financial climate in Pennsylvania, it is only prudent to have information regarding all options for the future."

West Jefferson board President Shauna D'Alessandro read Ms. Abellonio's letter to the public at the Tuesday board meeting before the vote. She said the board's vote is reflective of "the tenor of the community."

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com ; 412-851-1512.


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