Sylvia Wilson wins Pittsburgh School Board Dist. 1 big

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“Without the proper finances your programs get limited. Right now, it’s bare bones,” Wilson said in an interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier. “We need to be able to offer these children what they need. The financial situation is why it’s so difficult to offer programs in the areas we once did.”

The district’s 2013 budget included a $9.8 million deficit, significantly decreasing the district’s fund balance, which could be empty by 2015. Wilson said she would begin by taking a thorough look at the district’s financial picture in order to balance the district’s budget without taking vital resources away from schools.

“There’s loads of places where they need more resources. There have been a lot of cuts to teachers and administrators and I know they’re over worked,” Wilson said. “It’s difficult across the country. At the state level if the funding were where it once was, that would help, but I’m not saying it would fix everything.”

When asked how she would address the biggest problem in the Black community, the growing achievement gap between Black and White students, Wilson said strengthening school principals to provide strong leadership is key.

“Where schools have been the most successful is where you have good leadership in the building. Strong school leadership is possible and I’ve seen it.  I think with lots of changes over the past few years, we’ve seen that deteriorate,” said Wilson, adding she has seen achievement go down after a change in principal occurred. “I think what you need to have is that mutual respect between the administrator and the staff.”

As the longtime assistant to the president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, some speculated during the campaign about Wilson’s allegiances to the union. After Wilson takes office, she and the other new board members will be involved in renegotiating the terms of the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the PFT.

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