Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wilkinsburg Would Pay City $8,000 per Student under Plan

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wilkinsburg Would Pay City $8,000 per Student under Plan

Article excerpt

There are conflicting ideas in the details of what a partnership between Wilkinsburg School District and Pittsburgh Public Schools would look like, with three weeks before a final decision about it is made.

An agreement drafted by a team of administrators from both districts that would require Wilkinsburg to pay a tuition rate of $8,000 per student to attend Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 for the 2016-17 school year was unveiled during a Pittsburgh Public Schools board directors workshop meeting Tuesday night. The rate would then increase to $9,600 in the second year. The subsequent rates during the six-year agreement would be increased by the Act 1 index.

Pittsburgh chief operating officer Ron Joseph said the rate was calculated to be "cost-neutral" for both districts.

The difference in tuition rates is caused by anticipated unemployment compensation costs with more than 40 teachers, administrators and support staff at the Wilkinsburg Middle/High School.

Former interim superintendent and district consultant Dan Matsook said the district has been in negotiation talks with the Wilkinsburg Education Association. Under the draft agreement, Wilkinsburg teachers could apply for Pittsburgh positions through the "regular employment application process" but would not be guaranteed positions within the district.

"There's going to be some staffing decisions made, some reductions," Mr. Matsook said after Tuesday's meeting. "We don't know the exact number yet, but we have to anticipate those losses. The talks have been going slow because everyone is unsure about what the future holds."

One of the major points of contention among Pittsburgh board directors was Wilkinsburg students' lack of access to magnet programs.

In the draft terms presented Tuesday night, Wilkinsburg students would be assigned to Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12. …

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