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School Realignment Could Boost Body at Brashear

Pittsburgh Public Schools will vote Nov. 22 on a plan that shutters schools and shifts students but doesn't directly impact Brookline.

 

Pittsburgh Public Schools, faced with a projected $100 million deficit by 2015, expects to release a preliminary budget this week that could include plans to increase the number of students at Brashear High School.

The district is looking to close Pittsburgh Langley High School, among others, as part of an effort to rein in costs, and a would place those students in Brashear, according to a press release from the district. None of the closings would directly affect the Brookline community.

The school board could vote on the realignment plan as early as Nov. 22. A vote on next year’s budget is scheduled for Dec. 7.

After the state announced it would make significant cuts to school funding earlier this year, Superintendent Linda Lane and the school board worked to reduce operating expenses by $11.94 million by the end of the year, mainly through reducing office workers and support staff. The district anticipates laying off roughly 400 additional full-time employees in the coming year.

Other school closures listed in the realignment plan include Fort Pitt Pre K-5, Murray K-8, Northview Pre K-8, Oliver High School, Perry High School, Schaeffer K-8 and Stevens K-8. The district would open a new K-8 school in the Langley building and a new high school in the Perry building while shuttering seven others.

“No one wants to close schools,” Lane is quoted in the press release, “but school closings are necessary if we are going to build a sustainable District that uses its resources and taxpayer dollars efficiently.”

Foreshadowing the preliminary budget expected this week, Lane said the $529.8 million budget does not include a tax increase for residents and represents a 2.1-percent decrease from this year’s $540.9 million budget.

While the proposed budget would reduce next year's proposed deficit from $38.2 million to $21.7 million, future reductions would be needed to address a projected $50 million deficit in 2015.

Community members can sound off on the realignment plan at the school board’s regular public hearing on Nov. 21, or email feedback to cityschoolsfiscalchallenges@pghboe.net.

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