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Voluntary transfers of Duquesne students to Pittsburgh schools remain possible

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

Duquesne City School District's state-appointed chief recovery officer Paul B. Long is meeting on Wednesday with two Pittsburgh Public Schools administrators.

Long will discuss voluntary transfers of Duquesne elementary students with Pittsburgh solicitor Ira Weiss and chief financial and operating officer Peter J. Camarda.

“Pittsburgh is the only viable alternative at this point,” Long said. “I think they'd need something to persuade their superintendent (Linda S. Lane).”

Something, that is, to persuade Lane and the Pittsburgh school board to accept approximately 400 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, at a tuition of $8,000 apiece.

That figure was deemed too low by other districts among 11 approached by Long for an agreement on voluntary transfers before a Friday deadline.

“The plan calls for a commitment from the receiving school district by the end of March,” Long said, referring to his plan for Duquesne City School District's financial recovery.

Long's plan was rejected by Duquesne's school board last month, but still may be implemented.

The school board's rejection prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Education to ask Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to put the Duquesne district into receivership, with Long as the receiver.

Judge Judith L.A. Friedman will continue her hearing of that request on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in her eighth-floor courtroom in Pittsburgh's City-County Building.

Long referred to “an administrative commitment,” but would not say he was trying to reach a tentative agreement with the Pittsburgh school district.

Still, any commitment would not include a vote by the Pittsburgh school board before its next meeting, not scheduled until next month.

The board met last week, during which it extended Lane's tenure as superintendent through June 2016.

Without an agreement on voluntary transfers, the Duquesne district likely will have to prepare for another year of classes at Duquesne Education Center.

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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