Students in grades K-6 in the Duquesne City School District will attend school at the Duquesne Education Center in the next school year.
State-appointed receiver Paul Long on Tuesday approved a $16.9 million 2013-14 budget that calls for classes to be held in the district for the 350 elementary students. Mr. Long also approved numerous contracts for services and programs and several for personnel for the coming school year, including one for a new acting superintendent.
The actions come a month after Mr. Long said that he intended to enter into discussions with officials in the West Mifflin Area School District in an effort to transfer the elementary students there in the fall. The majority of Duquesne's students in grades 7-12 attend the West Mifflin district under state legislation enacted in 2007.
But those talks never took place and any plan for West Mifflin to voluntarily take the elementary students "are on the back burner," Mr. Long said.
Earlier this year, Mr. Long had asked 11 area school districts, including West Mifflin, to consider voluntarily taking Duquesne's elementary students. Only officials from the Pittsburgh Public Schools were willing to discuss the issue, but could not commit to taking action before the fall of 2014.
Duquesne's new acting superintendent is Barbara McDonnell, who has been an administrator in the district since 2000. She most recently held the title of community education liaison and also was responsible for transportation and the transition of Duquesne secondary students to either West Mifflin or East Allegheny school districts.
She replaces Paul Rach, a retired superintendent, who has served as Duquesne's acting superintendent for the past two years. Under state law, acting superintendents can hold the job for just one year. However, Mr. Rach was given special permission to remain in Duquesne for a second year.
But now, Mr. Rach said he is ready to move on and transfer duties to Ms. McDonnell, who will assume the superintendency but also continue to oversee her existing responsibilities.
The 2013-14 budget includes funding to hire six additional staff members: a first-grade, third-grade and special education teacher and three instructional coaches. The millage rate was lowered from 21.1 mills to 17.5 because of the Allegheny County property reassessment, but it remains revenue neutral.
Mary Niederberger: email@example.com or 412-263-1590.