On March 20, the Pittsburgh Public School District Board of Directors is set to vote on the renewal of Superintendent Linda Lane’s contract. The motion will call for extending Lane’s contract through June 30, 2016.

The board is required to notify Lane about the status of her contract, set to expire in December, at least 150 days before it expires. However, District 8 School Board Rep. Mark Brentley says the board is in too much of a rush to vote.

Five school board members are up for reelection this year. While incumbent District 3 Rep. Thomas Sumpter is running unopposed, the four other members have chosen not to run for reelection, meaning big changes to the school board.

Brentley believes the board should consider changes in the board’s make up in their decision on whether to renew Lane’s contract.

 “This is their way of getting stuff done while they still have all these board members here,” Brentley said. “What happens if we have to buy Dr. Lane out in her three-year term? What will that mean for taxpayers? As a school board we have to critically analyze what she has or hasn’t been able to accomplish.”

According to Board President Sharene Shealey, Lane is evaluated annually. While she wouldn’t reveal which way she intends to vote, she said she is considering Lane’s “ability to lead the district, her ability to manage the district’s programs and her ability to manage our financial situation.”

In response to Brentley’s claim that the board is voting on the contract extension to prohibit input from new board members, Shealey said it wouldn’t be possible for members elected in November to have input. If the board does not notify Lane of their decision about her contract, 150 days prior to it expiring, it is renewed automatically.

 “We have to do something by June. I don’t know the law exactly how it reads, but we would have to notify her if we weren’t going to extend her contract or it would extend automatically,” Shealey said. “The new board can’t do this.”

There will be a public hearing tonight, March 18 at 6:00p.m.

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