On Monday, Pittsburgh City Council will hear from members of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network calling for a moratorium on school closings in the Pittsburgh Public School District. Council will also hear from other city residents unhappy with the district’s decision to close nearly 30 schools in the past eight years.
“What PIIN is looking for is a moratorium on school closings because we know how damaging closing a school is,” said Irene Habermann, chair of PIIN’s education task force. “What we want to do is get an understanding of the impact. There’s a lot of outside factors we want to look into before we decide to close these schools. Let’s find alternatives.”
If approved, the non-binding resolution being considered by council would request the district to place a moratorium on school closings for the 2014-2015 school year. While the district has not announced specific plans to close any schools in the future, closing elementary schools was included in a list of cost-saving recommendations to help the district stave off a $46.3 million budget deficit projected for 2016.
“Statistics show how damaging it is to close a school. We’ve looked at it nationwide, but we haven’t done that in Pittsburgh. We have neighborhoods that don’t have schools anymore,” Habermann said.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in council chambers.