PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Throughout the day, employees at the main administration building of the Pittsburgh Public Schools got grim news.
“We are notifying unfortunately about 147 employees that they are either going to be in furlough status or laid off,” said Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane. “We’re reducing over 200 positions.”
Lane says she wanted to lead by example, so they cut administrators, support administrators, clerical positions and custodial staff first.
“It’s going to be very important as we go out to our schools, kids, teachers and others about things that we might be asking them to do that we, too, have borne our share of this, share of the pain frankly,” said Dr. Lane.
She projects that the eliminated jobs will help.
“Our estimate is it’ll be about 11 and a half million dollars annually,” Dr. Lane said.
But Lane says the savings will not be enough to cope with state cutbacks in education. The district’s $540 million budget, already in deficit, will lose another $34 million in proposed state cuts.
“We had fiscal issues before the Governor announced the cutbacks, and so the cutbacks that are proposed – at least proposed at this point – are exacerbating a problem we already had,” she said.
But one group left largely untouched, at least for the moment, is teachers.
“There may be a few teacher layoffs. We had a few last year just because of declining enrollment and that kind of thing, so there may be a few in some others,” says Lane. “But nothing of any great magnitude this year, and we do have until August 1 to notify teachers.”
However, Lane still has to address the district’s own under-utilized schools.
“We haven’t really pegged a firm number yet,” says Lane about closing schools. “But if we look at our schools that are significantly under capacity, we have quite a few of them right now.”
While Lane refuses to get specific about future school closings, the city school district’s financial situation is such that everyone expects some closings in the year ahead.
Now that news of the layoffs has been delivered to most of those affected throughout the day, the superintendent will report to the Board of Education at 7 p.m.