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Pittsburgh Public Schools is furloughing teachers, but the union leader hopes some will return

Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Education Oakland.jpg
Ashton Jones
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90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Pittsburgh Public Schools is struggling to find teachers in key areas, following a teacher furloughs
(0:00 - 10:03)

Pittsburgh Public Schools begins its new academic year Aug. 29 for all grades except kindergarten. Earlier this month, the district sent furlough notices to 26 teachers in elementary and middle schools, which the district says is necessary due to declining enrollment and cutting certain programs.

Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, says despite the furloughs, the district is having trouble finding candidates to fill specific positions, like special education roles.

“I think it was shortsighted of the district,” says Esposito Visgitis on the furloughs. “I would not be surprised if they have to call back more of those teachers because parents are signing up more kids now after COVID.”

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Start your morning with today's news on Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

The Steelers have yet to decide who will replace Ben Roethlisberger as quarterback
(10:09 - 17:28)

The Steelers are three weeks into training camp back at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, and have two preseason games remaining, including one Saturday evening in Jacksonville. However, this training camp and preseason might seem different for many fans as it’s the first without longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who announced his retirement in January.

“You're just trying to figure out who's going to replace, you know, a franchise icon really, and a two time Super Bowl winner,” says Sean Gentille, senior writer for The Athletic.

The three players vying for the role are Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Kenny Pickett.

Gentille says in addition to who fills the shoes of quarterback, he’s looking to see “how the offensive line gels. I mean, there's been a lot of turnover in that space since last season.”

Two young organizations are encouraging students of color to see themselves in the tech industry
(17:31 - 22:30)

Black employees make up a sliver of the tech workforce. Part of the problem is that one in three Black families doesn’t have a computer at home. 90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring reports Black-led groups in Pittsburgh are teaching young people in their community how to navigate the tech industry.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
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