Legislation that would allow the Pennsylvania Department of Education to transfer high school students from the Duquesne School District to schools in neighboring districts is awaiting Governor Ed Rendell's signature.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously in September that a lower court erred when it decided the state had the right to transfer the students to East Allegheny and West Mifflin School Districts. The high court found the law used to implement the transfer was so specific it could only apply to Duquesne and therefore was unconstitutional.
The Senate approved a bill that would pass legal muster but it appeared the measure would expire and the fate of nearly 195 students from Duquesne would be undetermined when House leaders canceled legislative voting days scheduled for after the November 2 election. House leaders caved into pressure from rank and file lawmakers and held votes on this bills and several others including pension reform.
State Representative Bill Kortz of Dravosburg, whose legislative district includes Duquesne, says not passing the measure would have hurt the students and the East Allegheny and West Mifflin Districts....
"They have to get their budgets done now and get things squared away and here we are impacting them and everything is up in the air on these children. It's not fair to the children and their families. It's not fair to the children and families. It's not fair to the school districts to have everybody hanging in limbo."
The state took over the Duquesne School District in 2000 and closed the high school in 2007 citing budget issues, declining enrollment and test scores.