Fights, Strikes And Social Media Threats Plague Pittsburgh-Area Schools

Feb 9, 2018

Teachers, paraprofessionals and technical and clerical employees at Pittsburgh Public Schools are deciding whether to strike for the first time in more than 40 years.

Pittsburgh City Paper's Rebecca Addison and WESA's Sarah Schneider explain what's at the heart of the dispute and how a strike might affect local students, their families and the many organizations it would take to feed and care for kids if schools temporarily shutter. Ballots will be counted next week.

Next in the program...

Gov. Tom Wolf previewed his final budget for 2018-19 on Tuesday, calling for a billion dollar increase in spending with no hikes to the income or sales taxes. Brad Bumsted, bureau chief for LNP Media's The Caucus in Harrisburg, reports Wolf's proposal does count on revenue from a Marcellus Shale tax, which hasn't made much headway in the past. 

Coming up...

About 700 backlogged rape kits have been tested in Pennsylvania since 2016, but the remaining number still hovers around 1,200, with some dating back to the 1990s. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has urged Gov. Tom Wolf and the state legislature to allocate more money to the cause, but Wolf's office contends they've already nearly doubled the funding to $5.185 million and proposed an additional $1 million in the 2018-19 budget.

WESA's Kathleen Davis joins Natasha Lindstrom with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Antonio Olivo of the Washington Post to talk about what's working and what Pennsylvania could do better to help survivors still waiting on results.

Later...

Late last month, a violent threat made in the chat room of a online video game prompted a temporary lockdown at Pittsburgh Public Schools before officials traced the message to someone living in Florida. The Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette's Julian Routh reports the evolving digital landscape is complicating efforts to keep students safe.

And finally...

High school basketball teams from Clairton and Monessen will face a WPIAL hearing next week after players and fans brawled during a game Tuesday night. How common are fights at Pittsburgh-area high school sporting events, and what penalties can WPIAL levy? Columnist Kevin Gorman with the Pittsburgh Trib explains.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

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