Pittsburgh Public Schools projects deficit by 2015
By Bill Zlatos
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Pittsburgh Public Schools could have empty pockets in three years, district officials warned Monday.
City schools Superintendent Linda Lane said during an update of the district's finances at the Administration Building in Oakland that she plans to present an operating budget of $521.8 million for 2013. That's a decrease of 1.5 percent over this year with no increase in taxes.
However, the fund surplus, now at $72.4 million, would soon vanish and the district would be $16.6 million in the red if nothing else is done.
“By 2015, are we broke?” school board member Thomas Sumpter asked.
“Correct,” business manager Ronald Joseph replied.
The district is swamped by an array of problems: Enrollment has dropped from 32,661 in 2004 to 24,889 this year because of competition from charter, parochial and private schools. Its contributions for employee pensions are projected to double from $21.1 million this year to nearly $43.7 million in 2015.
The city schools saved nearly $50 million between June 2011 and July 2012 by cutting 217 central office employees, closing seven schools and taking other steps.
But the district lost $37.8 million last year in federal and state money.
Lane said the district cannot take the normal approach of cutting art, music or physical education — programs that appeal to parents.
“It's going to take something different than what we've done before,” she said. “It's going to require a creative solution.”
Board member William Isler suggested the consolidation of school districts. Allegheny County has 43.
“We're working on an agrarian model that's so out of date it's not funny,” he said.
Board member Mark Brentley Sr. suggested rethinking the impending sale of the former Schenley High School and the proposed $1.75 million window replacement project at Pittsburgh Obama, the former Peabody High School.
“I think everything should be on the table,” he said.
The board is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget on Dec. 19.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Got proof on Tomlin? Let’s hear it
- Ex-Penguins winger Kennedy ‘emotional’ about return
- Ex-Steeler WR Wallace: It was a ‘challenge’ for Haley to use me
- Schmotzer resigns high-paid administrative job with Baldwin-Whitehall
- Dozens of workers strike outside Downtown fast-food locations
- Film about former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis in prestigious festival
- Pirates’ Snider talks about surgery, rebuilding swing
- Penguins notebook: Sill thrives on penalty kill
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- Worker finds man’s body in Monessen
- Personality Test: Paul Chryst