DeLuca calls for Dept. of Education oversight for Penn Hills School District

HARRISBURG, May 30 – In light of a number of different issues facing the Penn Hills School District, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has again asked the state Department of Education to place the district into the state’s financial recovery program and to appoint a qualified chief financial recovery officer to oversee the district.

DeLuca expressed concern regarding how the appointment of a new school board member was handled following the recent resignation of a board member.

In a letter sent to Executive Secretary David Volkman, DeLuca wrote, “This is a District desperately in need of fresh insight and oversight. I once again implore you to take action for the betterment of this District before it's too late. I feel strongly the financial situation will not, nor cannot, improve without the intervention of the Commonwealth. Each action the Board takes confirms my belief.”

DeLuca advised Volkman that while the district’s search may have yielded a qualified board member, the search process itself was deeply flawed. He pointed out, “The Board held little (if any) discussion and review of other, more qualified candidates. For example, with all the serious issues this District faces, the current Board passed over a doctorate graduate from MIT without careful consideration of his qualifications. I do not criticize the candidate they chose, I criticize the process. ln light of the fact that the wife and daughter of the candidate they selected are both District employees, it appears they once again simply voted ‘one of their own’ to sit on the Board.”

“I am hopeful that this time the Department of Education will seriously consider my appeal for their oversight to protect the future of the Penn Hills School District, the residents and the current and future students,” DeLuca said.