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Duquesne City School District plans to register incoming students

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 7:24 a.m.

A sign outside Duquesne Education Center invites residents to register their children for kindergarten.

Signups are slated for April 5 from 9-11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m.

“We have to plan ahead,” Duquesne City School District acting superintendent Paul Rach said prior to Tuesday's school board meeting. “We can't not be prepared to be here.”

State-appointed chief recovery officer Paul B. Long is seeking a voluntary transfer of the 5-year-olds and others in grades 1-6 to another district.

His plan calls for DEC to operate in 2013-14 if no transfer take place.

That's the plan before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Judith L.A. Friedman, who will continue a hearing on Tuesday of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's bid to put the district under Long's receivership.

Long's other scenarios include mandated transfers or a charter school, both of which would require action by the state General Assembly.

“I don't know of any pending legislation,” Long said.

The board approved a one-year renewal for $4,551.95 of a pact with Edmentum Inc. for the computerized tutoring program Study Island for Duquesne Education Center students.

Rach said it is primarily to help teach math.

The board also approved:

• A $2,464.54 share of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 2013-14 budget, totaling $3.8 million for the agency, which serves 42 suburban districts.

• The use of the athletic field by the Pittsburgh Blue Devils semi-pro football team and the gym by the Steel City Elite Basketball program.

• A leave for first-grade teacher Janeen Emsurak.

• Nearly $1.4 million in general fund payments, including $582,000 previously approved for West Mifflin Area to cover tuition of Duquesne students at its high school.

That elicited a complaint from board president DeWayne Tucker that the board isn't getting regular reports about Duquesne students from East Allegheny or West Mifflin Area, or from DEC's own principal.

“We do not get consistent reports of what our kids are doing,” board vice president Calvina Harris said. She said she hears about the 11 Duquesne students at Steel Center Area Vocational Technical School, and called them students and their parents recently.

“They were happy to know that the board was interested,” Harris said.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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