Elizabeth Forward says it can't accept Duquesne transfers
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 4:56 a.m.
Elizabeth Forward School District said on Thursday it will not participate in a voluntary transfer of elementary school students sought by state-appointed Duquesne chief recovery officer Paul B. Long.
Long contacted 11 districts about his scenario of tuitioning out approximately 440 students from Duquesne at $8,000 per student.
“The Elizabeth Forward School District understands the difficult financial situation that the Duquesne School District is currently experiencing, but is unable to accept students from any other district,” superintendent Bart Rocco said in a statement sent to The Daily News.
Rocco said it is the statement the Elizabeth Forward school board wants to make, but Long said he hadn't heard directly from the district.
“When they do send me correspondence I will be responding to that,” Long said. “I don't want to be answering their mail through the newspaper.”
A voluntary transfer is Long's preferred scenario among four outlined in a plan he will submit to Duquesne's school board at a special meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The plan also must be approved by state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis.
“The financial conditions of the Duquesne school district mirrors many failing districts across the commonwealth because of inequities that exist in the funding of public education,” said Rocco, a former West Mifflin Area administrator who has led the EF district since July 2009.
Rocco said Elizabeth Forward struggled financially over the last several years “because of the lack of state funding.”
Rocco expressed the hope “that with the right government support the Duquesne students will be enabled to be educated in their home school.”
Keeping Duquesne youngsters at their present school along Kennedy Avenue is another scenario Long offered, but one he labeled as “academically undesirable and fiscally unsustainable.”
Long sent proposals to East Allegheny and West Mifflin Area, which have taken Duquesne high school students since 2007 under a state mandate, as well as to Gateway, Norwin, South Allegheny, South Park Township, Baldwin-Whitehall, Brentwood, West Jefferson Hills and Pittsburgh.
State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, whose House district includes four of those school districts, said the state education department failed its constitutional mandate to provide a “thorough and efficient education system” in Duquesne.
Kortz said $8,000 per student “is not nearly enough, nor is there additional monies to address the special needs students.”
He cited West Mifflin Area's contention that the $10,500 given per Duquesne high school student is far below that district's cost per student of $14,000.
Rocco also addressed Gov. Tom Corbett, who last summer signed into law the act that established the financial recovery process involving Duquesne, and Tomalis, who appointed Long to develop the plan under consideration.
Rocco said it is imperative that Corbett and Tomalis “find a different way to fund failing schools without transferring students from their home and communities.”
That drew a rebuke from state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, a former EF board member.
“Like every other district, (Elizabeth Forward) has received more state funds than ever in the history of Pennsylvania,” Saccone said. “They need to negotiate contracts and manage the taxpayers' money better.”
In explaining his $8,000 proposal, Long said tuition paid out for elementary students is usually less than that that for secondary students.
Long's other scenarios are mandated placements or establishment of a Duquesne charter school.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
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.
- Corpus Christi parishioners deliver giving tree gifts
- Service project culminates in local children’s party
- Families receive food, gifts from Salvation Army
- Versailles to maintain tax rate
- County redevelopment authority OKs transactions that affect McKeesport, Homestead and Braddock locations
- West Mifflin Area organizations help fuel toy drive
- PUC rejects Elizabeth Bridge appeal
- Clairton students debut Holiday Reading Program
- ‘Fans Rule’ as Globetrotters return
- School scores run the gamut
- Revitalized Duquesne watchdog group finds new home, leadership