By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In her five-year tenure as superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, Dr. Linda Lane can cite several academic achievements, such as improving assessment scores, curbing the high school dropout rate and increasing the number of graduates.

“Graduation rates a great example; we feel really good about that one, and also there are areas where there’s quite a lot of work to be done,” said Lane.

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Not satisfied, Lane vows keep pushing until her retirement in June to improve the quality of education and the results, all while cutting costs and staying within budgets.

“We have to make some changes, there’s no question, because we’re still deficit spending, and that can’t go on forever,” Lane says.

But Lane and the Board of Education have not always seen eye to eye, both on her classroom initiatives and on those cost-cutting measures.

When Lane moved to close the under-used Woolslair School last year, the board reopened it as a magnet. Lane says she has not been frustrated.

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“I don’t think frustration is worthy of my emotional energy,” says Lane. “My job it to make the best case, and sometimes, do I have to accept decisions that I don’t agree with? Yes, I do.”

Still, Carey Harris of the watchdog group, A-Plus Schools, says going forward the board and the district need to get more bang for the buck. That includes improving things like elementary school reading levels by marshalling the best use of limited resources.

“We have a lot of money here in Pittsburgh, and we want to make sure it’s invested wisely in ways that gets good outcomes for kids,” she says.

Doing more with less, that will be Linda Lane legacy, and a challenge for the board and the district going forward.

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