Pittsburgh School Board Election

In the school board election there have been many of the same old, same old nostrums offered up by the candidates. We need more money, let’s go after the non-profits. This in a school district that spends well over $20,000 per student and has little to show for it in terms of academics. This in a school district with a "Promise program" that offers scholarship money to virtually everyone who graduates. Yet school enrollment keeps falling and preparation for college languishes at abysmal levels. If money were the answer, Pittsburgh schools would be among the best.

There was one comment from a candidate that has a lot of potential. The candidate suggests changing union contacts to remove the overweening influence of seniority on personnel decisions and presumably on pay-although that was not explicitly stated.

There is little question that for too long teachers and the so called educrats who have been in charge have neglected the wellbeing of students, their parents and taxpayers in favor of political correctness, liberal ideologies and self- preservation of the employees and bureaucrats. The citizens of Pittsburgh and the taxpayers from across Pennsylvania who cover about half the cost of the school system deserve better.

What Does it Take to Get Fired?

Innocent until proven guilty, yes; but drawing a paycheck until waiting for a disciplinary hearing? Only in the world of the Port Authority, where the agency enjoys a monopoly on public transit and can shut the system down by going on strike, would such a situation arise.

Of course most have likely heard or read of the troublesome charges facing a PAT driver. They occurred nearly 25 days ago and just yesterday the driver waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will go to trial. Yet until the yet to be scheduled disciplinary hearing occurs, the driver will keep accumulating pay. The exact same procedure happened with another driver last October who was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on his shift.

A much better system would be for the suspension to be unpaid and then, at the conclusion of the legal proceedings (should the driver be found innocent), make the pay retroactive. It will be very difficult to recover the pay should the driver be found guilty. But those are the terms of the union contract, egregious though they may be.

With their hammerlock on transit and the negotiating power that comes with it the transit union has all the cards. It would not be a surprise if the driver in the current case ends up keeping his pension benefits as well.