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July 20-24 Explained: School Reopening Limbo, PWSA’s ‘Unfortunate Chapter’ & A Question For Voters

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Katie Blackley
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90.5 WESA
Two people and a dog walk by Colfax Elementary School in Squirrel Hill.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools first day of school is scheduled for August 31st, just a little more than five weeks away. But it’ll be at least another week and a half before families know for sure what fall instruction is going to look like. While some districts are offering a hybrid model, with both online and in-person instruction, others haven’t made up their minds yet, including PPS.

This week, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority closed what Executive Director Will Pickering called “an unfortunate chapter” in the agency’s history. Compliance testing showed that lead levels in drinking water were once again below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. 

PWSA first exceeded this level in 2016, kicking off a wave of changes, including thousands of lead service line replacements, a more efficient testing program and shakeups among leadership. 

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Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
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90.5 WESA
Beth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizens Police Review Board, during an interview with WESA in 2018.

When Pittsburgh voters go to the polls in November, they’ll decide whether the city’s Citizen Police Review Board should have the power to compel officers to participate in its investigations of alleged police misconduct. The measure was sponsored by City Councilor Ricky Burgess, and received final approval from Council this week.

Helping explain the headlines this week:

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify. 

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer of Pittsburgh Explainer and our Good Question! series. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm
Liz Reid oversees newsroom operations at WESA. She began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor. You can reach her at lreid@wesa.fm.