PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Public Schools are in financial trouble and officials said one way to help with the budget crisis is to layoff teachers.
The budget deficit that the Pittsburgh Public School system is facing will only grow over the next few years.
It is estimated to increase to $100 million by 2015, but measures being taken to limit that, mean overwhelming cuts to teaching positions district wide.
While the need for quality education continues, the Pittsburgh Public School District is struggling to provide it with a diminishing budget.
In a proposed budget for next year, cutting costs means classroom sizes could grow, schools will close and more teachers could lose their jobs.
“We’ve been very honest about the fact that the increase in class size will result in fewer teaching positions next year,” Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane said.
Partially-filled classrooms and buildings have caused Dr. Lane to look at closures and reorganizations.
Perry and Oliver High Schools will close and reopen as the new North Side High School in the Perry building.
However, with eight schools currently on the chopping block, an estimated 398 positions district wide will also be eliminated. Many of them are teachers and paraprofessionals.
There is a clear distress from the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, President Nina Espisito calls these the most devastating cuts she’s seen.
Teachers will face another problem too with school supply budgets also being reduced.
Espisito said unanticipated state cuts have only worsened the budget problems.
“It’s a perfect storm. A perfect storm. But, we’re continuing to work with them, get input from other areas. We are certainly not giving up,” Espisito said.
There will be a public hearing on Nov. 21, where people can voice their concerns. The vote on closures and cuts is scheduled for Nov. 22.
After threats of lawsuits, Westinghouse High School will be reformatted back to co-ed classrooms.
The reformatting will take effect by no later than Feb 1, 2012.