Monday, May 19, 2008

Superintendent Recommends Closing Schenley High

Pittsburgh Public Schools' Superintendent Mark Roosevelt presented his findings and final recommendation on the future of Schenley High School in Oakland. He cited the most recent study that gave renovations a soft price tag of 76.2 million dollars. The facility, which is over 100 years old suffers from a number of maintenance problems, including pervasive asbestos and crumbling plaster. Roosevelt acknowledged the beloved place the building has in residents' hearts, but he said that fixing it is not financially viable. He said the public school system is currently in the black, but that its finances are precarious due to declining enrollment, a yearly debt service of 58 million dollars and a pending 40 million dollar budget cut by 2010. He also said that taking on more debt to fix Schenley would lower the district's bond rating.

Roosevelt said that current Schenley students will move to the Reizenstein facility. Incoming freshman will attend three different schools: Pittsburgh Frick, which is expanding to a 6-9 grade school, a Robotics Technology Magnet at Peabody and a new University prep 6-12 grade school in the Milliones facility.

The school board will vote in the June legislative meeting on whether to accept Roosevelt's recommendation to close Schenley.

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