Big Issues Still Front and Center for Pittsburgh Public Schools

Summary of Study

Pittsburgh Public Schools’ (PPS) board of directors approved a 2021 general fund budget that spends more than it collects in revenue ($673.8 million to $631.9 million). By taking money from its fund balance ($39.4 million) and reserves for prior-year encumbrances ($2.5 million), the budget achieves balance. 

The superintendent advocated for a property tax increase and then exploring savings in 2021. According to the superintendent, “many difficult decisions regarding the programming, services and staffing in our buildings."

Read the full policy brief here.

Feature Charticle

Allegheny Institute for Public Policy

Findings:

  • The PPS preliminary budget projects further declines in enrollment.
  • A close to 18 percent drop over the next decade should have implications for PPS employees, building space, state basic education funding, and PPS’ position statewide.
  • Can PPS honestly expect that enrollment will continue to fall and not begin to look at reducing employee headcount—whether through attrition, not filling vacant positions, or furloughs or layoffs?
  • PPS offered five properties for sale in 2020. There will surely be more sales proposed, especially if PPS is looking at deferred maintenance and consolidating schools. 
  • If the fiscal picture continues to decline, the possibility of PPS meeting criteria to enter financial watch or financial recovery under Act 141 of 2012 could become real.
  • With years of failing to address the poor academic performance of many schools and PPS’ high costs, the administration and the board have a lot of work to do

Read the full policy brief here.