The latest installment of the district’s propaganda for closing Peebles is titled “FAQ: The Recommendation to Close Peebles Elementary School.”  Here are the 5 points we find most interesting:

  1. “NASD could close a small elementary school and still have 9 spare classrooms to work with for flexibility in the remaining six schools.”  The administration listed 11 spare classrooms in their Nov 28, 2012 presentation to the school board, but now they only have 9.  To be clear, 9 spares across 6 schools means some buildings would only have 1 spare available to manage class size.
  2. “Class size would not be affected.” 

The administration is using averages to mask what is happening on a per building basis.  The administration’s Nov 28, 2012 slides clearly illustrate that:

(1) McKnight, Ingomar, and Bradford Woods would have seen an increase in class size across multiple grade levels, and

(2) there would be 17 classes with 29+ students and minimal ability to manage class size given only one spare in some schools.

  1. “Peebles has no ‘spare classrooms’ when the facility is analyzed under the guidelines of the redistricting model, which allows for 4 sections of grades K-2.”  This highlights one of the biggest issues related to the district’s new model; the small schools that remain would be required to run 4 sections of K-2, even though they were only designed to run 3 sections.  The reason why no “spare” exists at Peebles, and only 1 or 2 “spares” exist in the remaining buildings, is because Hosack, Bradford Woods, Franklin, Ingomar, and Peebles were NOT designed to operate as 4-round schools.   
  2. “Closing Peebles Elementary School will save NASD at least $1.25M each year for the next seven years.”  The administration listed a savings of $850,000 in its Nov 28, 2012 presentation to the school board.  We wish we could explain the $400,000 change, but as we’ve already seen, the data supporting this recommendation is not consistent and continues to be a moving target.
  3. “The District does not have a tenant for the Peebles building.”  It has been confirmed that LaRoche College is the potential tenant for Peebles Elementary.  Since an official legal document is not in place, the district can technically state it “does not have a tenant.”  The administration illustrated its fondness for semantics when it recently told the Tribune Review it had “no substitute costs” because its substitutes were hired through a contractor.  Given the administration’s cost savings calculation is contingent on $1M of “Potential Lease Revenue,” it’s clear that there is indeed a tenant for Peebles.

Saving the best for last: “Mr. Thomas donated his services free of charge to complete this work.”  So, Mr. Thomas, a consultant from a construction management firm, “donated all of his services” to complete the Phase 2 report and recommended closing a school with $0 repairs instead of one with $14 million in repairs.  Nothing more needs to be said.
  1. Eileen Russell says:

    I think the phrase moving target is perfect to describe the ever changing “facts” presented by the administration. Whether it is savings generated, available spare classrooms, or locations for programs that would be displaced, they are all over the map!

  2. Kathy Grubb says:

    Can someone tell me what a “4-round school” is?

    • Great question, Kathy. A 4-round school is one that operates 4 classes of a single grade. For example, instead of there being 3 first grade classes (1A, 1B, and 1C) there would be 4 first grade classes (1A, 1B, 1C and 1D). This means spare classrooms will be used as regular classrooms instead of being available to manage class size when there is an increase in enrollment. Under the new model, an extra 1st and 2nd grade class would be added to each of the small schools and they would each lose two spare classrooms.

  3. I have lost hope of integrity in any information the administration is releasing. I find it insulting and demeaning to the intelligence of the community.

    • Michele Chetoka says:

      Heather, I could not agree more. The information they provide is only as good as the audience they are trying to convey a lie to. This is why there is no community task force, because those of us who are professionals (such as us accountants) we provide factual, reliable information that we can substantiate and stand behind.

  4. Jamie Karlovits says:

    I find it appalling that the administration has been so dishonest to the parents and tax payers of this district. Do they have any shame? Aren’t they supposed to be looking out for the best interest of our children and our tax dollars?

  5. Teresa Boley says:

    I wonder how much Mr. Thomas was paid so the admin. could say he “donated” his services. This is just so suspect on so many levels.

  6. Anita King says:

    Let us not forget the propaganda of NA Tiger News November/December Special Edition 2012 which contained a picture of 13 smiling children which had a caption which began “We must continue to be the best we can be in every way – first and foremost for our children.” I wish the North Allegheny School District Board of School Directors was acting in a way to TRULY achieve this. Multiply those thirteen students by two and then add some more to show the true picture of our classrooms!Let us please continue to fight this!

  7. Kerri Buschmeyer says:

    I do not understand how the Administration or the Board can take the recommendation of a Construction management firm over the recommendation of a panel of individuals, especially considering the construction management firm recommends closing a school that needs no renovations. Other than some hidden agenda by the Administration and the Board, I can see no reasonable explanation for this.

  8. Ash Marwah says:

    The Administration is doing everything to convince the voters to vote for a tax increase, 4th year in a row. We need to offer an alternate solution also, e.g. cut salaries and benefits for the 1024 employees of NA ($100 Million item in the Budget). This is difficult because we would be saying that Teachers’ pay should be reduced. Unless we have a solution to the $5.7 Million deficit, the School Board is looking to pass the Preliminary Budget next month.

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