Personnel, board changing at Pittsburgh Public Schools
At least three Pittsburgh Public Schools board members will not seek re-election this year, creating the greatest turnover on the board since 1999, as the district faces continuing academic and financial hurdles.
Key administrators are leaving as well, taking other jobs or retiring.
The stakes are high during this change: A $30 million deficit looms in 2014, and the district is trying to boost enrollment and student achievement, and eliminate racial disparities.
“We've got some big stuff we're trying to get done,” said Superintendent Linda Lane, whose contract expires in January. “How you do that while experiencing a transition is where my head and heart has to be right now.”
Floyd “Skip” McCrea, Jean Fink and Theresa Colaizzi confirmed they will leave the board.
Chief financial officer Peter Camarda will retire June 29; Jan Ripper, chief of student and support services, retired Feb. 1; Paulette Poncelet, chief of research, assessment and accountability, leaves Feb 26; and chief of staff Lisa Fischetti is taking a job with a health system, Lane said.
Two school directors are up for re-election: board President Sharene Shealey, who said she will announce her decision on a re-election bid March 12, the last day to get on the ballot, and Thomas Sumpter, who could not be reached.
“It is certainly possible that (turnover) could change the direction of the school district,” said Carey Harris, executive director of the watchdog group A+ Schools.
Voters first elected Fink, a former board president, in 1976 and she has served since except for a four-year break.
Colaizzi, another ex-president, and McCrea each is marking 12 years on the board.
“I just think it's time for someone else to carry that torch,” Colaizzi said.
McCrea, who retired about a year ago from the city's Fire Bureau, said he wants to go fishing.
“I'm tired,” said Fink, 68, who joined the board at age 32.
Robert Strauss, professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said the turnover may be healthy.
“I can imagine if there's a new majority on the board, there's a whole bunch of issues that will be addressed. That would include matters such as textbooks, curriculum, the alignment of testing and curriculum, and also the integrity of the testing process,” said Strauss, who has researched the district.
The state ordered Pittsburgh to develop a plan to improve test security after investigating suspicious math and reading standardized test scores in 48 districts.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or email@example.com.
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.
- Officials identify man, woman killed in apparent Oakland murder-suicide
- Beloved North Side gardener gets new truck, paid for by her neighbors
- Overnight snow delaying schools in western Pennsylvania
- Newsmaker: Laurie Sanders
- Beaver County man arrested in 24-year-old Clinton County cold case
- Pa. Turnpike claims software fraud, wants $45M
- Medical examiner identifies man in Pleasant Hills police standoff as Justin Hay
- Uber gains PUC approval to operate in most of Pa. for 2 years
- PennDOT says inbound Fort Pitt Tunnel will close around-the-clock this weekend
- New Turnpike Chairman Sean Logan institutes Wolf’s gift ban at commission
- Woman, 77, dies in Monroeville house fire