West Mifflin Area School Board keeps lawsuit options open
West Mifflin Area School District says its tentative plans to sue state Department of Education over what it claims are unfair reimbursements it receives for educating Duquesne students will remain an option if negotiations don't work out.
The school board on Thursday approved an action that keeps the threat of the lawsuit on the table.
The board earlier rejected a motion that would have outright authorized district solicitor George Gobel to move ahead with legal action against the state.
Board member Judy Andzelik, who wanted to table the motion altogether, said she doubted a lawsuit would have any success against the state because of the current political climate in Harrisburg, which she characterized as pro-charter school.
She and school board member Harry Fast voted against the lawsuit.
Board member Ron Rubinsak said he thought the district should authorize the solicitor to negotiate with involved parties before filing suit.
The district began considering the legal action several months ago over what it says are discrepancies between what it receives for educating Duquesne students and reimbursements the state pays to charter schools.
The district says it only receives $10,500 per Duquesne student while charter schools may receive up to $28,500 for teaching those same students.
The district has estimated its losses at about $4 million since it started taking Duquesne students five years ago because of the discrepancies.
Superintendent Daniel Castagna said he's in favor of such a suit.
“I would love to make a statement to the state about this,” Castagna said. “The time to take the fight to them is now.”
Gobel wanted to keep the option of a lawsuit on the table as a bargaining chip.
He told board members who were hesitant about the action that the matter shouldn't be tabled.
Gobel said he has discussed the matter with officials from East Allegheny School District, which also is mandated to take students from the troubled Duquesne school district, and expects the East Allegheny board will discuss the matter in February.
Gobel said delaying the action could cost West Mifflin Area more money if all of Duquesne's students are transferred to the two districts next year.
This past year, the state ordered the two districts to take seventh- and eighth-graders from Duquesne. High school students from Duquesne have been attending school in the two districts since 2007.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- West Mifflin renovation project uncovers time capsule of images
- Company announces it will close McKeesport site that employs 100
- New McKeesport controller Maglicco takes oath of office
- McKeesport fire damages kitchen, but no one hurt
- Comprehensive plan for cities aired
- Wilmerding targeted for mobile farmers market
- Suspect in 2 bank robberies arrested
- Some White Oak students arrive home an hour late
- Wilmerding moves to fix Ice Plant
- West Mifflin mayor names business, citizen of the year
- Phyllis Wheatley Literary Society honors black officers at annual Law Enforcers Salute