PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Parents with children in private and parochial schools who take advantage of special education programs in the Pittsburgh Public schools are bracing for a fight.

Budgetary constraints facing the school district threaten some of the programs those students have traditionally been able to take advantage of – programs like the one for gifted students.

The gifted program currently has about 1,100 students district wide and about 150 students from private and parochial schools participate in a one day a week pull program.

Students attend one day a week for accelerated classes and they are bused to the West End facility.

But if the school district has to eliminate teachers, the gifted program could see fewer teachers too which means they won’t be able to handle as many students and those from outside the city schools would be the first to go.

“We service parochial and private school students as long as it doesn’t displace a Pittsburgh Public School student,” Allison McCarthy said. “So for example, if we end up reducing teachers and there’s still a hundred spots, we would take private school students in those hundred spots.”

“We live in the city, we pay taxes in the city,” Kathy Stec said. “If it’s going to be provided for other children in the city, it would seem fair to provide it for all of those that are eligible.”

The school board meets Wednesday night for a vote on the budget, but all of this has been proposed already and the district says there’s no alternative right now available if the cuts go through.

Pittsburgh Public Schools
More Reports By Lynne Hayes-Freeland

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