PPS has more staff and fewer students: Is it helping — and is it sustainable?

Photo above by Sam Balye via Unsplash.

School districts are often measured by their ratio of teachers to students and by how much money they spend per student. PublicSource reported this week that with help from pandemic-relief funding, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) has added more teachers in recent years (increasing staff by 3.5%), even as the number of students has dropped.

During the 2020-21 school year, Public Source reports, the district invested about $28,180 per student. That’s more than many local districts, including Fox Chapel Area School District ($24,135 per student).

The result is something usually seen as good: Relatively high teacher pay along with relatively low student-to-teacher ratios.

PublicSource’s new investigative report, released this week, looks at whether this spending is helping students — and whether PPS can keep up with this level of spending once those temporary pandemic-relief funds run out.

“The district’s per-pupil infusion is not translating into improved student outcomes,” PublicSource writes, “and could potentially lead to fiscal challenges in the coming years, with the expiration of the pandemic relief funds in 2024.”

Click here to read PublicSource’s full story.

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