Pittsburgh Public Schools passes 2020 budget, tax increase fails

The school board for Pittsburgh Public Schools voted 5-4 Wednesday night to pass a 2020 budget, but the proposed tax increase failed in a 4-4 vote with one member abstaining.The budget was set to include a 2.3% increase in property taxes. The increase has been met with controversy. The district hasn’t raised property taxes since 2014. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is concerned over spending and a lack of accountability in the district, but Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet said that after not raising taxes for six years, it’s time. Peduto and Hamlet met earlier this week and the district called the meeting “positive.” “It was an opportunity to clear the air,” Peduto said. “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.”While Peduto met with the news media to talk about the meeting, Hamlet did not.Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh texted a statement to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 after this story first was broadcast.”The meeting with the mayor was very positive, focused on aligning common goals for Pittsburgh’s children. We look forward to coming up with a plan that formalizes our current partnership in various areas,” Pugh wrote. The board will meet again on Friday, December 27th to decide on how to plug the $182 million budget hole.

The school board for Pittsburgh Public Schools voted 5-4 Wednesday night to pass a 2020 budget, but the proposed tax increase failed in a 4-4 vote with one member abstaining.

The budget was set to include a 2.3% increase in property taxes. The increase has been met with controversy. The district hasn’t raised property taxes since 2014.

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Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is concerned over spending and a lack of accountability in the district, but Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet said that after not raising taxes for six years, it’s time.

Peduto and Hamlet met earlier this week and the district called the meeting “positive.”

“It was an opportunity to clear the air,” Peduto said. “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.”

While Peduto met with the news media to talk about the meeting, Hamlet did not.

Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh texted a statement to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 after this story first was broadcast.

“The meeting with the mayor was very positive, focused on aligning common goals for Pittsburgh’s children. We look forward to coming up with a plan that formalizes our current partnership in various areas,” Pugh wrote.

The board will meet again on Friday, December 27th to decide on how to plug the $182 million budget hole.