Positions eliminated at PPS school, prompting superintendent to look for solutions

PITTSBURGH — Following the dismissal of five staff members at Perry High School, Pittsburgh Public Schools’ superintendent says he will be meeting with school officials to see if their positions can be reinstated.

“There is always a possibility of things to happen, right,” said Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent.

Last week, five staff members were told they were being displaced from the school, meaning they are no longer guaranteed a position on campus.

“We will get together and see what we can do, but we definitely will have a conversation about that and see what the possibilities may be,” said Hamlet.

Hamlet tells Channel 11 News; the staff members can apply for vacancies in other parts of the district.

Gerald Watkins, who is a music teacher at Perry High School was told his position has been eliminated.

“I definitely would like to stay there and keep building the relationships I have, because the staff as well, we are pretty much a family,” said Gerald Watkins, music teacher.

Dr. Hamlet tells Channel 11 News, the reason for the cuts has to do with student enrollment.

“The faculty and staff at our schools are allocated by the number of students that they have. So, with that being said, if you lose student population, then you will lose a number of staffing based on the number of students that have been reduced,” said Hamlet.

Since 2017, Perry High School has lost nearly 100 students.

According to Pittsburgh Public School’s Chief Accountability Officer, Dr. Theodore Dwyer, the decline in enrollment is happening across the district, and Perry High School is not immune.

“Typically, every year we are losing 3-4% of our population for the last 10 years. So, we have seen that decline consistently across time,” said Dr. Theodore Dwyer.

Dr. Hamlet tells Channel 11 news, he will be meeting with the board member who represents Perry High School and the district’s chief financial officer to discuss options for the staff members.