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West Mifflin option out for Duquesne elementary students

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 7:28 a.m.

Duquesne City School District will house students after all in 2013-14, with a new acting superintendent, when talks ended about the possible voluntary transfer of Duquesne elementary students to West Mifflin Area.

“We haven't talked with West Mifflin since May,” court-appointed DCSD receiver Paul B. Long acknowledged after Tuesday's receiver business meeting at Duquesne Education Center.

“It was a mutual understanding,” Long said. “It was getting too late in the school year to talk about 2013-14.”

Long was forced to admit talks were going on after a memo was leaked through other sources to The Daily News on May 17.

That memo came out after DEC teachers were briefed about the resumption of talks with West Mifflin, one of 11 districts Long asked to consider voluntary transfers to meet a scenario in his financial recovery plan.

“We are looking forward to (having classes at DEC) with enthusiasm,” Long said.

The only way classes would not take place this fall at DEC, Long said, would be if the General Assembly intervened, as it did in 2007 to mandate high school transfers to West Mifflin Area and East Allegheny.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, Long reported progress in long-delayed contract talks with the teachers' Duquesne Education Association union, as well as the Duquesne Educational Support Personnel Association, which represents other staffers.

Both unions have worked under terms of contracts that expired at the end of the 2011-12 school term.

He approved the appointment of Barbara McDonnell as acting superintendent at a salary of $109,468.

McDonnell grew up in Duquesne and earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Pittsburgh.

She has been employed by the school district since 2000, was elementary principal and most recently served as community educational liaison, a position she will retain while taking over as top administrator.

McDonnell said she is working toward her superintendent certification and expects to have it by year's end.

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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