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On Halloween, Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, announced that he's attempting again to close Schenley High School and move its students out of Oakland into existing Middle School buildings in East Liberty and the Hill District
 
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11-06-07 Pittsburgh schools reduce budget for '08

 
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:16 am    Post subject: 11-06-07 Pittsburgh schools reduce budget for '08 Reply with quote


Pittsburgh schools reduce budget for '08

By Bill Zlatos
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, November 6, 2007

City schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt has proposed a 2008 budget of $525.5 million -- $3.5 million less than this year's budget -- that holds the line on taxes.

"There is no tax increase planned, contemplated, dreamed about, whatsoever," said Chief Financial Officer Christopher Berdnik at Monday's meeting of the school board's Business and Finance Committee.

But the administration warned that the budget contains a deficit of $17.5 million that will be made up by its operating balance, which is projected at $65.3 million by the end of this year.

By the end of next year, the operating balance is expected to dwindle to $21.5 million as revenues remain flat and the district's benefits, energy costs and payments on debt continue to rise.

The proposed budget contains only the annual step increases on the salary schedule that teachers with fewer than 10 years of experience get, but no increases for teachers at the top of the pay scale. The district is negotiating a new contract with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, the union for the teachers.

This year's enrollment is 28,265 students, a loss of 1,180 from last year.

Roosevelt said the Pittsburgh Public Schools is lucky that Pennsylvania, unlike most states, does not "punish" districts whose enrollments decline by reducing their aid.

"That would be almost an Armageddon point for us," he said.

The proposed budget includes $4.5 million in cuts at schools and $3.6 million at the central office.

District officials released a proposed capital budget of $41.7 million for 2008. It includes $15.4 million for construction projects at Carmalt, Concord and Sterrett schools, $10.3 million for projects related to Roosevelt's high school reforms and $16.9 million for routine projects.

The district will have hearings on the budgets on Dec. 3 and 10. A vote is scheduled Dec. 19.

Bill Zlatos can be reached at bzlatos@tribweb.com or 412-320-7828.


Images and text copyright 2007 by The Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
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