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Duquesne school receiver predicts enrollment will remain K-6

| Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 8:52 a.m.

Duquesne City School District must balance its proposed 2014-15 budget while aligning that spending plan with goals for financial and educational recovery.

The district's court-appointed receiver Paul B. Long is scheduled to approve a final general fund budget on June 24 during a 7 p.m. meeting at Duquesne Education Center. Long, who answers to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and the state Department of Education, oversees district operation and acts on all financial and educational matters in place of a traditional school board. Duquesne's elected board serves as a voice for the public but has no voting authority.

Business manager Nedene Gullen, along with acting Superintendent Barbara McDonnell and other members of the district's administration, recently presented a preliminary budget with $17,230,927 in proposed revenue and $17,493,287 in proposed expenditures.

While there is a projected $341,318 increase in revenue from 2013-14's budgeted $16,889,615, there is a much greater increase in expenditures. Compared to 2013-14's $16,359738 costs, there is a proposed increase of $1,133,546.

“The proposed budget is a work in progress,” Long explained. “Changes will be made as new data, such as the commonwealth budget and student enrollments, become clearer.”

To tighten the gap between revenue and expenditures in order to provide a balanced budget within the next month, Duquesne's administrators will have to reduce expenditures. Long said he does not anticipate an increase in budgeted revenue, nor does he expect to see a tax increase or fund balance appropriation.

The preliminary budget was prepared according to the district recovery plan's first option, which would be the continued operation of kindergarten through sixth grade within Duquesne Education Center.

The district educates only elementary students at this time. Duquesne youth in seventh through 12th grades attend East Allegheny and West Mifflin Area schools.

“For 2014-15 and the foreseeable future, the recovery plan's dual goals remain to improve education for the children of Duquesne and stabilize finances for the Duquesne City School District,” Long said.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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