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Mt. Lebanon School Board meeting features debate over personal care assistants

Parents and staff fight for PCAs in Mt. Lebanon 01:45

MT. LEBANON (KDKA) - Many in Mount Lebanon are fighting to keep several positions from being cut.

Staff and parents attended Tuesday night's school board meeting to make their feelings known that these positions should not be on the chopping block.

At least six unfilled personal care assistant positions are being targeted by the board to be eliminated from next year's budget, so no one stands to lose a job, but supporters of the positions say they are understaffed, and those positions need filled, not cut.

Wearing black during the meeting, dozens of teachers, staff, and parents were showing their support for the district's personal care assistants.

Several parents of students with learning disabilities spoke up to say how important it is to have a PCA with their child.

"For them, the PCA helps them navigate a large building, act as a classroom helper, give them a sense of security, give them access to a truly inclusive education," said Michelle Richie during the meeting.

In a statement, the district's communications director said they are confident the schools can meet the needs of the students without these positions, as they are doing this year.

"Our administrative team is confident at this time our students' needs will all be met for next school year with this reduction in positions but will look to continue researching the issue," the statement said.

Meanwhile, parents claim the district is not succeeding but falling behind in this area.

Tuesday night's meeting was to present the final proposal for the budget and the board can still change its mind until the vote on the final budget next month.

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