Dwindling enrollment in Pittsburgh schools widens spending and education gaps, grantee finds

Photos via Canva Stock. (Photo illustration by Natasha Vicens/PublicSource)

As the Pittsburgh public school system struggles with dwindling student enrollment, reporter Lajja Mistry, writing for Public Source, revealed the many financial challenges the system is facing, and showed that fewer students mean the system must spend more on each pupil still in the school system. However, a higher investment per student does not necessarily reflect improved student outcomes or more resources in those schools, Mistry found. Schools with more students often have better-funded programs, potentially exacerbating inequities within the school system. With support from the Fund, Mistry analyzed expenses and outcomes. Schools with fewer students have higher overhead costs, such as staff salaries and building maintenance, resulting in more investments per student. But it doesn’t make a difference in the quality of education, Mistry found. The story is part of an ongoing series about Pittsburgh’s public education system.