• The Administration’s recommendation to close an elementary school is based on 33 spare “classrooms” that exist at the elementary level. The 33 “classrooms” identified by the Administration include faculty lounges, learning support rooms, music rooms, GOAL rooms, and large group instructional spaces. These spaces were NOT designed to be used as classrooms. The district does NOT have enough excess capacity at the elementary school level to close a building unless buildings are operated close to their gross capacities requiring non-classrooms be used for direct instruction.
  • The Administration has focused on the fact that the small elementary schools have a gross capacity of 550 students. We’ve discussed in our earlier posts that buildings are not designed to run at gross capacity. For example, Franklin has a current enrollment of 515 students and the only spare classroom that exists is a faculty lounge. Franklin cannot reasonably accommodate 35 additional students.
  • The Administration has focused on buildings that are operating below capacity (Hosack) instead of buildings that are operating above capacity (Franklin). If students are moved from buildings operating above capacity to those that are operating below capacity, through minimal redistricting, the district can balance enrollment and operate all of the buildings efficiently.

If enrollment at the small elementary schools is considered in reference to the 450 student target capacity established by Pennsylvania Department of Education guidelines, then each school would be operating at approximately 89% of its target capacity if all buildings remain open. This is calculated by taking the balanced enrollment totals for each building from the Administration’s November 14th presentation  and dividing by the 450 student target capacity established by the state: [Click here to see the balanced enrollment slide.]

BWE = 400/450 = 89%

FES = 403/450 = 89.5%

HES = 408/450 = 91%

IES = 401/450 = 89%

PES = 397/450 = 88%

Under this scenario, Hosack would pick up 75 additional students and excess capacity issues would be resolved through limited redistricting.
All regular classrooms would be in use and spare classrooms would be available (instead of non-classrooms) for overflow or bubbles in enrollment.
With respect to the two larger elementary schools, enrollment at McKnight would be 782 students (instead of 837 if Peebles was closed) and enrollment at Marshall would be 774 (instead of 852 if Peebles was closed). These are more realistic capacities for our children.

We maintain that balancing enrollment, through limited redistricting, is the solution to the excess capacity issues that exist at the elementary school level. The district does NOT have enough excess capacity to close a building without compromising the education of our elementary school students.

  1. NA Parent says:

    Cecilia Staniec | December 14, 2012
    Your response dated Dec. 3 to Mr. Grahor’s question brought up a few more questions for me.

    1. The District indicates that, “Based upon our research to date, the building would be able to be leased at a competitive rate that would provide approximately $1M to offset the debt payment.”
    Can you provide the public with a copy of this research material?

    2. Also indicated below – “There has been some interest expressed by local entities relative to leasing the property. The District is exploring options.”

    I’m curious to know how these “entities” came to be. And I assume that the District can immediately provide the taxpayers with a list of said “local entities”? Can the District also explain what other “options” are being explored?

    Thank you, in advance, for your prompt response.

    North Allegheny School District | December 20, 2012

    The information to which you refer is not currently available for public review. It is exempt under from the Right to Know Law under Section 708b, because it qualifies as “records which reflect the pre-decisional deliberations of an agency, its members, employees or officials….“

    If Peebles were to be closed and the School Board were to ask the Administration to actively pursue viable leasing options, qualifying information relative to that issue would become public in a timeframe that would be legally appropriate.

  2. NA Parent says:

    Dave Colson | December 19, 2012

    Given the importance of the school board meeting this evening, I am curious why the Administration was unable to reply to any of the questions posted to this community blog over the past 3 weeks?

    North Allegheny School District | December 19, 2012

    Due to technical difficulties with our website provider, the District has been transitioning to a new blog format. The two blog responses to Ms. Russell and Ms. Rosella were written and posted on December 10, but did not transfer to the new format. We apologize. The responses to entries from Ms. Rosella and Ms. Staniec, which came in late last week, have not yet been finalized.

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