City school board talks of cutting up to 300 teachers
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In an attempt to overcome a $38.2 million budget shortfall, the Pittsburgh Public School board will consider a proposal to eliminate about 300 teaching positions for the next school year and consider closing an additional school.
Superintendent Linda Lane reviewed the newest proposal at a school board meeting Monday night.
It was met with opposition by some board members and will be formally voted on at a Nov. 22 meeting.
The proposed budget of $534 million does not call for an increase in property taxes, but instead relies on a combination of furloughs, school closures and realignments and also changes in feeder patterns.
If the school board passes the budget plan, the district will have an operating deficit of about $21.7 million in 2012, finishing the year with a balance of slightly less than $43 million.
Projections for 2013 show an operating deficit of $12.9 million, leaving the district with a balance of $29 million. But the district faces an operating deficit of nearly $23 million in 2014 and more than $30 million in 2015, which would leave the district with a year-end deficit of $23.5 million.
The latest revision in the school realignment plan recommends that Pittsburgh Perry High School be closed and reopened as a high school for students who previously attended Perry and Oliver High School.
The plan also calls for Langley to repoen as a K-8 school, which would eliminate the previous proposal of offering a preschool program at the school as well.
Pittsburgh Morrow would open as a PreK-5 school and offer one additional grade each year, eventually becoming a preK-8 school by 2014.
Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, said the plan indicates that in addition to the teachers who were furloughed this summer, more than 100 full-time positions could be eliminated by the next school year.
"This is such a blow to our district and to our union," Ms. Esposito-Visgitis said. "There have never been furloughs like this in our district. It is painful to me to be honest."
Ms. Lane said the budget reductions aim to make up the deficit caused by state cuts to education, increasing competition for students from charter schools and the rising costs of pensions and health care.
First Published November 8, 2011 12:00 am