The issues facing Pittsburgh Public Schools — chronic absenteeism, racial achievement gaps, underrepresentation of Black students in gifted programs and significant overrepresentation of Black students among those suspended — aren’t new.
And while those trends are outlined in the statistics of A+ Schools 125-page report to the community released Monday morning, the major focus of Executive Director James Fogarty’s presentation was on schools that are making progress in reversing the negative trends.
Parents and community activists say many changes still need to be made to a proposed memorandum of understanding between Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police to ensure the most vulnerable students’ rights are protected.
To address concerns from the community and Pittsburgh school board members, the latest draft of a memorandum of understanding between Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police specifies that law enforcement cannot conduct an investigation without first reaching a student’s parent or guardian.
The MOU has undergone numerous revisions over the last several months to address concerns from community and student groups, board members and the ACLU. School board members looked over the newest draft at their Oct. 23 agenda review meeting.
The board is set to vote Oct. 30 on the agreement between police and the district that is years in the making.
“Largely, the concerns have been addressed,” district solicitor Ira Weiss said.
The agreement establishes procedures for how police can respond to certain incidents on school property or at school-sponsored activities. It does not cover incidents outside of the school setting and should “create no substantial disruption to the learning environment.”
The MOU defines parameters for information sharing between the two parties, what incidents school officials must notify city police regarding and what law enforcement response may involve, including taking a child into custody, notification of parents or guardians and reporting requirements.
Pennsylvania School Code requires that districts and municipalities have an MOU in place.
Established in 1994, the Allegheny County Library Association has 46 member libraries over 70 locations, including 19 branches in Pittsburgh. The organization brought the county’s independent libraries together with the city to help them stay relevant. Today, many of them are vibrant learning spaces for adults and children alike. To highlight the changing and varied roles libraries play for residents, PublicSource explored how four libraries serve their unique communities.
Some students, faculty and alumni think the university should protect its reputation from an organization with a long history of pursuing overtly political goals and denying science. While others, including some university officials, say Pitt must retain its professors' rights to academic freedom and to pursue funding for research.
Fox Chapel Superintendent Gene Freeman’s contract provides more vacation days than all other superintendents in Allegheny County with no limits on the sell-back of days, along with a retirement payment of 80% of his salary.
The Pittsburgh school board will vote next month on a revised memorandum of understanding between the district and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police that appears to give city officers less authority to arrest students at school for past offenses than a previously proposed memorandum.