Lawsuit Reveals Consultant Cost District Half a Million for Prior Work; Letters to the Editor- Post Gazette

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Lawsuit, Letters
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The consultant who recommended closing Peebles Elementary cost the district half a million dollars for prior work on the district’s elementary schools. This information, brought forward at the school board meeting last evening, raises a long list of questions for both the Board and the Administration. Most importantly: Why did the district commission a consultant that cost the district half a million dollars to give a “second opinion” on a recommendation that came from 12 experts? What was the motivation behind hiring this consultant? And, are these the  practices and procedures that ensure the best use of taxpayer’s dollars?  Lawsuit- Full Text; North Allegheny Appeal- Full Text

The board voted 7-2 to schedule a public hearing last evening, which is the first step in the process for closing a school. Nearly 50 members of the North Allegheny community took to the microphone to express their concern, doubt, and disappointment at the process both the Board and the Administration are proceeding with for closing a school. A majority of the speakers noted that a petition with over 1,000 signatures requesting a community task force continues to be ignored by the Board. Residents from across the district, including several retirees, urged the Board to slow down the process and allow more time for due diligence to be achieved.

Parents from 5 of the 7 elementary schools explained that this movement is not about saving A school, it is about saving ALL seven. Larger class sizes, more sections per building, and students in non-classrooms were all sited as factors that will compromise the district’s successful elementary education model.

Today’s Post Gazette includes several letters to the editor that further detail the issues surrounding this recommendation and the lack of solid, empirical evidence, upon which the current recommendation is based. [To read the letters, click here.]

With mounds of evidence on their side, residents from across the district will now prepare for a public hearing on January 30th. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

  1. Ash Marwah says:

    I left the meeting early last night when I realized that the decision to close Peebles was already made. The Public Hearing was just that a “Hearing”. This process will continue and Peebles would be closed at the end of this School Year. An effort should be started now to reopen Peebles the following year.
    There are 4 School Board Members up for re-election next year: Dan Hubert, Linda Bishop, Tom Schwartzmier and Ralph Pagone (Mr. Pagone has already announced that he will not run for election again). It should be our effort to elect 4 new members of School Board who see merit in not closing Peebles and saving money elsewhere in the School Spending plans.

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