Pittsburgh Public passes 2021 budget without a tax increase. Here are 3 key takeaways.

With the weight of an unprecedented year on their shoulders amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Pittsburgh Public Schools board decided against a proposed property tax increase and adopted a $673.84 million school budget for 2021 on Wednesday. The district will keep its millage rate at 9.95 in the upcoming year. However, with that vote, the budget deficit is expected to grow by about $4 million, Chief Financial Officer Ronald Joseph said at the meeting. In remarks to the board at the top of the budget discussion, Superintendent Anthony Hamlet asked the group to consider the tax increase to 10.21 mills and said that it was just one strategy of a multi-pronged approach by the administration to address a $34.8 million deficit — now increased by $4 million without the tax increase. The plan includes reducing expenditures. 

Much was at stake in the 2021 budget.

Stacked one dollar bills.

Pittsburgh, what’s YOUR college debt story?

PublicSource wants to report on how college debt has impacted the lives of Pittsburgh residents and we need your help. How has college loans factored into your financial decision-making? Do you believe $10,000 is enough or too little relief? How has college debt impacted your life overall? 

pittsburgh skyline

This study hopes to follow Pittsburgh-area children for two decades. How has COVID-19 changed the plan?

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States in March, the widespread shutdowns that followed brought research on seemingly everything but a vaccine to a grinding halt. Limitations on in-person interactions meant that interventions, group meetings, and other basic methods for assessing psychological and behavioral research were no longer possible. So the Pittsburgh Study, which was set to officially launch in 2020, had to change plans. In this community-partnered intervention study, researchers plan to follow children in the region from birth to adulthood, putting a microscope on the relationships and resources that influence social outcomes. The study will involve over 20,000 children in a two-decade-long look at factors that contribute to childrens’ physical and mental health and educational outcomes. The several different initiatives will focus on infant mortality, childhood obesity, youth violence, and asthma prevalence, among others.

Superintendent James Harris of the Woodland Hills School District stands in front of a row of blue lockers.

Calm without police: Woodland Hills’ superintendent explains how the district boosted supports and phased out law enforcement.

Due to the pandemic, students at Woodland Hills are partially in school for in-person instruction, but Superintendent James Harris describes the positive change he’s seen since they started reducing, and finally eliminating police from school. Harris spoke with PublicSource to discuss how the atmosphere has changed and how this idea can be considered in other districts.