Pittsburgh school district to review contracting, ethics policies after vendor took Hamlet, administrators to Cuba

Now there are three official probes into the propriety of a vendor-paid trip to Cuba taken by Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and four other administrators. On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing solicitor Ira Weiss to conduct a review of district policies relating to procurement, contracts, ethics and conflicts of interest. This review compounds another prompted by the district and one launched by the state auditor general. The inquiries come in the wake of media reports about an April trip to Cuba on the tab of an educational technology company called Flying Classrooms.

The company had a one-year $73,000 contract with the district, which had expired at the time of the trip. Board member Sala Udin, City Controller Michael Lamb and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale have questioned whether the trip violated the state ethics law that prevents district officials from accepting gifts from vendors.

Pittsburgh school board rejects Imani Christian Academy’s bid to become a charter school

The Pittsburgh Public Schools board voted unanimously on Feb. 27 to deny a charter that would have transformed Imani Christian School in East Hills into the secular Imani Academy charter school.

The vote at the board’s legislative meeting follows a report earlier this month by the district’s charter review committee that found Imani’s charter application did not include all of the information required under Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law.

The Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy in Oakland. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Without new funding sources, the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship faces an uncertain future

The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship has only committed to paying for college through Pittsburgh’s class of 2028 — with $61 million still needed to fulfill the pledge. That means qualified students currently in grades 3-12 in Pittsburgh Public Schools, Wilkinsburg schools and charter schools in the city can count on Promise funds to help pay for college or trade school. But students in grades K-2 don’t have that assurance.