News & Brews August 9, 2021

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Will Dem Senate primary come down to geography?

As the “packed Democratic primary looms” for U.S. Senate, the AP reports that victory “could come down to geography more than ideology.” Among the candidates, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman hail from western PA, while Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta are from the southeast.

Why PSERS has failed to deliver for taxpayers and school employees

In the latest in a long string of stories on our state’s largest pension fund, the Inquirer looks at how PSERS’ investment strategy—described as “pouring billion of dollars into hedge fund start-ups, private-equity takeovers, and eclectic real estate plays rather than old-fashioned U.S. stocks and bonds”—”has failed to pay off” for either taxpayers or pension participants.

Wolf: No plans for school mask mandate

Just a few days after Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said “all bets are on the table” when asked about mandating masks in schools this year, Beam and Gov. Wolf said there are no plans to implement such a statewide mandate. Instead, Wolf said, “I think the school districts in Pennsylvania have to decide what they want to do.” Given the Wolf administration often changes its mind, it’s unclear how long this latest position will last.

Back to School PAC ‘dishing cash and taking names’

The Delaware Valley Journal gave an update on the recently formed Back to School PAC, which has $500,000 to distribute to school board candidates focused on one issue: keeping kids in school—in person.

Parents walking away from Pittsburgh Public Schools

I missed this one last week, but KDKA took a look at the exodus from Pittsburgh Public Schools after the past 18 months of what one parent calls substandard education. Where are students going? Will they return? Read the story here. Separately, the Post-Gazette reports that as a result of declining enrollment, Pittsburgh Public Schools may furlough more than 30 employees.

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