Another PPS fail & another reason to watch PNC

Another PPS fail & another reason to watch PNC

Just when you thought the dysfunction that is Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) couldn’t get any worse, it does. And our not-so-long ago call for a state takeover of PPS becomes even more apropos.

In an astounding exercise in operational failure, the district has announced it will seek school board approval to delay this school year’s start of classes by two weeks, from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8.

Why, pray tell? Because it is short about 6,000 bus seats for students.

Which raises this question: What did Pittsburgh Public Schools administrators do on their summer vacation? Went on vacation, obviously, and not their jobs.

In fact, this issue, an outcropping of the coronavirus pandemic, pre-dated the summer.

PPS administrators have utterly failed in so many areas – from outrageous per-pupil spending costs, to outrageous junkets, to unacceptable declining achievement among the most vulnerable students – and now, this, not even able to make provisions for bused students to get to class in a timely fashion.

Pittsburgh Public Schools requires a wholesale house-cleaning. Those who have been running the show for too long are incapable of doing so. In the least, it’s time for state oversight. But it’s likely those overseers will discover that more dedicated state action – an outright takeover — is required.

The Post-Gazette reports that it has been PNC “snatching up” properties in the Golden Triangle across from its national headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh.

PNC says it plans to redevelop the buildings for mixed-use space that will support its employees and the Golden Triangle in general.

“As the bank continues to grow and acquire new talent, our continued development on Wood Street will allow us to procure additional employee office and amenity space while also offering us the unique opportunity to pilot new office concepts,” a PNC statement noted.

“Additionally, our plans will provide an opportunity for us to support local businesses and artists in a way that we believe will bring a renewed vibrancy to this corridor of Downtown Pittsburgh. We look forward to redeveloping the acquired buildings for these purposes and to furthering our investment in our hometown.”

OK. Sounds like a grand plan. But let’s all watch, closely, to see if altruistic PNC seeks any public money (as it has done in the past) to do this project.

For it’s always easier to be altruistic when somebody’s else’s money is trimming your costs.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).