Pittsburgh public school board hears from public on tax hike

Voices were heard loud and clear at a meeting about a proposed Pittsburgh Public Schools budget that includes a 2.3% tax increase.Valerie Allman said she supports the hike and played music from her phone to prove her point.Allman said, “It means for a median of less than 5 cents a day, we can be investing in sustainable changes for every single child in PPS. Money that can invest in books.”Others such as, Michele Traficante, spoke strongly against it.She said, “Do your constituents want a property tax increase? The answer is no.”School board president Silvia Wilson said, “This is just a large school district and we have to do what we can to provide what’s best for our children.”Superintendent Anthony Hamlet was not available after the meeting, but in an exclusive interview last week Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 asked him about raising taxes.He said, “We haven’t raised taxes for six years. So now it’s time. We should have did it last year, but we didn’t. We still wanted to hold back, but now we are doing it this year.”Hamlet and Mayor Bill Peduto haven’t seen eye to eye on the issue, but the two high ranking leaders came together Monday afternoon.Peduto said, “It was an opportunity to clear the air. You know there’s been a lot of public comments that have been made between us and it was an opportunity to sit down and look at ways that we can work together.”The district’s spokesperson sent a statement about the meeting saying in part.. “The meeting with the mayor was very positive. It was focused on aligning our common goals for Pittsburgh’s children.”

Voices were heard loud and clear at a meeting about a proposed Pittsburgh Public Schools budget that includes a 2.3% tax increase.

Valerie Allman said she supports the hike and played music from her phone to prove her point.

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Allman said, “It means for a median of less than 5 cents a day, we can be investing in sustainable changes for every single child in PPS. Money that can invest in books.”

Others such as, Michele Traficante, spoke strongly against it.

She said, “Do your constituents want a property tax increase? The answer is no.”

School board president Silvia Wilson said, “This is just a large school district and we have to do what we can to provide what’s best for our children.”

Superintendent Anthony Hamlet was not available after the meeting, but in an exclusive interview last week Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 asked him about raising taxes.

He said, “We haven’t raised taxes for six years. So now it’s time. We should have did it last year, but we didn’t. We still wanted to hold back, but now we are doing it this year.”

Hamlet and Mayor Bill Peduto haven’t seen eye to eye on the issue, but the two high ranking leaders came together Monday afternoon.

Peduto said, “It was an opportunity to clear the air. You know there’s been a lot of public comments that have been made between us and it was an opportunity to sit down and look at ways that we can work together.”

The district’s spokesperson sent a statement about the meeting saying in part.. “The meeting with the mayor was very positive. It was focused on aligning our common goals for Pittsburgh’s children.”