Duquesne district avoids transfers of K-6 students in 2013-14

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It's official: Students in grades K-6 in the Duquesne City School District will continue attending school at the Duquesne Education Center next term.

State-appointed receiver Paul Long on Tuesday approved a $16.9 million 2013-14 budget that calls for classes to be held within 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 he intended to discuss 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 was also 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, Mr. Rach has said he is ready to move on and transfer duties to Ms. McDonnell, who will also continue to oversee her existing responsibilities.

The board approved a one-year contract for Ms. McDonnell, starting Monday with a salary of $109,468.

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 mills because of the countywide reassessment, but it remains revenue neutral.

education - neigh_south

Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1590.


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