State sues to put Duquesne City School District in receivership
The Pennsylvania Department of Education filed suit on Tuesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, asking that Duquesne City School District be put in receivership.
A motions judge is scheduled to consider the request in a civil court hearing on Monday at 1:45 p.m.
At a speciala meeting last Thursday, Duquesne school board rejected a financial recovery plan developed by state-appointed Chief Recovery Officer Paul B. Long.
Long declined to speculate about what would happen under a receivership.
He acknowledged being education secretary Ron Tomalis' nominee, but said, “I would not presume that I would be the judge's appointee.”
Act 141, the state's school financial recovery act signed last year by Gov. Tom Corbett, states “the receiver shall assume all powers and duties of the chief recovery officer and the board of school directors, including all powers and duties of the board (as) stated in the financial recovery plan.”
Copies of the state's filing were delivered before Tuesday night's Duquesne school board meeting to school directors, Superintendent Paul Rach and Solicitor William Andrews.
After a prolonged executive session that delayed the start of the meeting by 40 minutes, directors declined comment and no one spoke from the audience.
The lawsuit asks that Long be named the receiver, citing his “20 years of service in executive level positions” in Pennsbury School District near Philadelphia and North Allegheny School District.
If a judge approves, that would allow Long to implement a plan that includes the voluntary transfer of Duquesne elementary students to any nearby district where schools meet state standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law and officials are willing to accept a tuition of $8,000 per student.
Should no area district accept those students, Long would be responsible for developing an alternative, possibly meaning that Duquesne Education Center would remain a school for students in kindergarten through sixth grade for the foreseeable future.
Long's other options would require legislative approval. One would mandate the transfer of Duquesne students, just as Duquesne high school students transferred to East Allegheny and West Mifflin Area districts. The other would allow establishment of a charter school in Duquesne. So far, West Mifflin Area, Elizabeth Forward, Norwin and South Allegheny districts have rejected Long's bid to accept Duquesne students. He also planned to approach Baldwin-Whitehall, Brentwood, East Allegheny, Gateway, Pittsburgh, South Park Township and West Jefferson Hills.
The board also could levy and raise taxes “if directed to do so by the receiver.”
“The school board is required to follow the direction of the receiver,” Andrews said.
Asked if the school board still could conduct agendas, the solicitor said, “That would be up to the receiver.”
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- FCC chairman floats ‘hybrid’ ruling on net neutrality
- Gorman: DiNucci perfect fit for Pine-Richland
- Quarantine fears jeopardize volunteer work in Ebola-stricken West Africa
- Fire marshal rules Derry mobile home fire was accidental
- High school football roundup: No. 13 Riverside upsets Beth-Center in 1st round
- Mark Phelan: Detroit 3 need to fix their troubled small cars
- Man arrested in shooting death in Stowe
- Armstrong trying new program to have instruction when weather closes schools
- Electric cars plug into solar power
- Writers take on novel challenge in Ford City
- ‘Unchacteristic’ Frazier KO’d