Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pittsburgh School District Considers Closing More Schools

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane has outlined the process to determine recommendations for school closings and realignment for the 2012-13 school year.

Lane told the Board of Education's Budget Committee that as enrollment continues to fall the district cannot afford to pay for empty seats in school buildings....

"Every dollar we spend on underutilized bricks and mortar is one less dollar we have available to spend towards improving the life prospects of our students.”

Lane says they will now use the 2009 DeJong facilities report along with an academic performance assessment and budgetary analysis to develop a plan for further downsizing.
“Our commitment is to have an open dialogue with the community about the need to close schools.”

The superintendent said to determine schools to be recommended for closure, they've begun an internal review process of all schools based upon four equally weighted measures:

1) Student Achievement- AYP; Student Growth
2) Student Enrollment- Enrollment vs. Capacity
3) Facility Condition- DeJong study rating
4) Operations Costs- Utilities, custodial, etc.

In 2009,the national consulting firm DeJong developed a long-term facilities plan for the district. In 2006, the district closed 22 under-utilized and low-achieving schools and in the last 4 years another 5 schools were shut down.

Lane says recommendations will be brought forward later this year and then there will be a public input period.

Student enrollment is 25,046 with an estimated 11,165 seats of excess capacity.