ShareThis Page

Pa. might lend Wilkinsburg district a hand, but not necessarily money

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 11:15 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq speaks to the Tribune-Review on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq speaks to the Tribune-Review Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq speaks to the Tribune-Review Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

State-sponsored support could be one facet to improving Wilkinsburg schools, Carolyn Dumaresq, acting secretary of education for Pennsylvania, said on Wednesday.

In a meeting with reporters and editors of the Tribune-Review, Dumaresq said district administrators will meet with students, parents and teachers to craft a curriculum that better promotes fiscal and academic health.

Recent Wilkinsburg woes run the gamut from poor tax collection rates and terminations to criminal charges levied by and against district employees.

Dumaresq made no pledge of money, but she said the state could help in an advisory capacity.

The school board unanimously agreed March 28 to replace Superintendent Lee McFerren with Donna Micheaux, assistant executive director for organizational leadership at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. McFerren will remain on administrative leave until June 26, when the board will buy out his contract for one year's salary of $115,000.

The board said that McFerren's removal was necessary to fix the troubled district.

The district's high school had the highest truancy rate in the region last year at 76.21 percent, an almost 20 percentage point increase from 2011-12.

Officials routinely collect only 75 to 78 percent of available property tax revenue, worth about $13.1 million from 5,000 parcels.

“We went by Tuesday night at their request,” Dumaresq said, “not to enforce anything, but to support the new board and let them know we're ready to help in any way we can.”

True revitalization takes a team, she said, and will be a long process.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.