Background on the District
The Duquesne City School District is a suburban public school district located 12 miles south of Pittsburgh in the east hills of Allegheny County, and serves the City of Duquesne, a former mill town on the banks of the Monongahela River. Census figures indicate that Duquesne had a population of 11,410 people in the early 1970’s when the steel mills employed thousands of people and provided good-paying jobs. The Duquesne City School District encompasses approximately 2 square miles. According to the 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 7,352; however, according to the 2010 federal census data, the resident population declined to 5,566 people. The median household income in Duquesne was $21,714 compared to $51,651 statewide, according to the same Census year.
Duquesne City School District
The current building that houses the Duquesne City School District at 300 Kennedy Avenue was constructed in 1913. It was renovated and had a gymnasium added in 1998. Once a full K-12, the senior high school grade levels (9-12) were closed in 2007, and junior high school grade levels (7th and 8th) were closed in 2012. In the 2021-22 school year, the district returned 7th graders. In 2022-23 school year, the district returned 8th graders.
In 2000, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) acted under state legislation and appointed a Board of Control for the management of School District budgetary and educational policy. The School District was officially certified as a “Financially Distressed” School District. (Financially Distressed Determination, Pennsylvania Department of Education, October 2000)
Since that time, the Board’s membership changed every few years and more than a dozen administrators have served to address academic and financial matters. Pittsburgh Public Schools provided oversight for one year ( 2006-2007) and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) managed all academic and business operations for four years (2007-2008 to 2010-2011). Throughout those years, there were frequent changes in superintendents, principals, teachers, and support staff.
Similar to the City of Duquesne under an Act 47 Recovery Plan, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued a Declaration of Financial Recovery Status for the Duquesne School District in November 2012, noting that Duquesne eliminated its senior high school program in 2007 and its junior high program beginning with the 2012-2013 school year in an effort to reduce overall expenses. The School District was not able to offer comprehensive educational programs and services such as advanced placement courses, foreign languages, extracurricular activities and competitive athletics, especially at the high school level.
Further, during the 2012-2013 school year, the Department of Education, working in conjunction with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, placed the School District in Receivership and the Court appointed a Receiver to provide oversight and management of academic and financial matters to ensure children and families are provided adequate educational programs and services. (DCSD Financial Recovery Status, Act 141 of 2012)
The Duquesne City School District is not governed by an elected school board, but continues to be a state-controlled initiative for oversight of academic and financial matters. Under the direction of a Court-appointed Receiver to ensure compliance with district-wide systems, policies and procedures, the District's nine school board members are elected by the community at large and serve in an advisory role. The Chief School Administrator (Superintendent of Schools) is contracted by the Receiver and is commissioned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A Chief Recovery Officer, appointed by the Department of Education, serves as an advisor to the Receiver and Superintendent for academic and financial matters. (Financial Recovery Status, Act 141 of 2012, Pennsylvania Department of Education, November 2012)
The Receiver has authority to take certain actions that streamline approval processes to meet state and federal compliance; to act as the elected Board of School Directors; and to take formal action for all School District matters at the scheduled monthly Receiver Business meetings. School Directors vote semi-annually, in June to set the Real Estate and Act 511 tax levies and in December at its Reorganization Meeting. (DCSD Financial Recovery Status, Act 141 of 2012)
Today, the School District operates its K-8 school and provides a continuum of educational programs and support services for approximately 470 students and employs 80 employees. Students in grades 7 to 12 are given the choice to attend either the West Mifflin Area School District or the East Allegheny School District for a total enrollment of 256 students as of February 28, 2023. Duquesne City provides transportation and tuition payments for students who attend the secondary school of their choice. Current charter school enrollment in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade is 212.