In 2011, Bradford Woods was recommended for closure based on a projected decline in the district’s enrollment. The following statements were made by school board members in regards to the declining enrollment projections:

Source: August 17, 2011 School Board Minutes

“Mrs. Grosheider pointed out that 10 years ago, the projected enrollment for the District for last year was 7,187. In reality it was 8,126.”

“Mrs. Grosheider said it was a voluminous report and she would have appreciated an Executive Summary to help her pull the report together. She said that a 100% utilization rate at a middle school or a secondary school is more doable than at an elementary school because an elementary school tends to be neighborhood-oriented. She said if we are already at 100% capacity in an elementary school and a new family moves into the neighborhood, they would have to go to another elementary school, and that is not the way that we do business. She was informed that a number of new plans have just been approved in Franklin Park. We are getting about 80% of the school age children who live in North Allegheny; she would like a goal of getting 90% of those students and our challenge is to make sure that more of those children come to North Allegheny. She does not think that closing buildings is the best way to make that happen. Her personal goal is to ensure that the District has a great product and a great education to make it attractive to everyone in the District.”

Source: September 28, 2011 School Board Minutes

“Mr. Hubert noted that in the last five years, enrollment has increased by 2.2% overall; five years prior to that, it was down 3.4%, and for the next upcoming five years, it is projected down to 2.7%, and he challenges those numbers. He said with the economy being what it is, which is pushing people back to the public school system, and with the quality that NASD brings to the table, people migrate to North Allegheny. He does not believe that those numbers take these facts into consideration.”

“Mrs. Bishop said this past year, the live birth number was low and the downward trend started in 2000. However, she does not see a direct correlation between the birth data and class sizes. She thinks new housing plays a greater role in predicting what is going on than the live birth data.”

“The Board is very optimistic that, in light of the excellent education the District offers and the recent national recognition that both Wexford and McCandless have received for being outstanding suburbs that have excellent schools, people will continue to move into our District so that their children can enroll in our schools.”

“Mrs. Grosheider pointed out that for the six-year actual enrollments, the numbers have grown, but in the numbers that are projected, we go down. We need to be cognizant of that fact because we are looking at closing buildings and having empty seats. But our numbers are consistent overall and are actually growing. She reiterated the fact that we provide a very good education for the kids in this District and we need to sell that to the people.”


Related posts:

Trib article: Community group questions North Allegheny enrollment projections

Letter to the Editor: Decline in student enrollment never materializes

SaveNASchools Community report

  1. Doug Karlovits says:

    Interesting that last year the Board was skeptical about the enrollment projections when Bradford Woods was recommended for closure. Is it because Mrs. Grosheider lives in Bradford Woods and her children attended Bradford Woods; Mr. Hubert’s wife is currently employed at Bradford Woods; and PA House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai has a child that attends Bradford Woods?

  2. Lynn Malko says:

    This post should have been titled “Maureen Grosheider doesn’t think we should close a school.”

  3. Karen Rosella says:

    Whether the savings from closing a school are $500k, $850k, or $1.25M, it is not worth it when our most senior and experienced board members do not believe in an enrollment decline.

  4. Carrie Matvey says:

    Good morning,

    If possible, can you please forward me the class breakdown for each school? For example, how many sections in each grade and how many students in each class. I have an email and call into Dr. Miller about class size and would like some supporting data.

    Carrie Matvey

    Sent from my iPad

    • Thank you, Carrie. We would be happy to send you an email with all of the supporting documents that you need. Also note that the “impact” on each building is summarized in prior posts on this site and each “impact” post has a link to the administration’s slides from Nov 28, 2012 that shows the underlying data for each building.

  5. Jamie Karlovits says:

    So basically the board believed that the enrollment numbers (the same numbers they refer to now) were wrong. That you can’t close a school based on these numbers. Now that a new school has been targeted, all the sudden these numbers are correct. It doesn’t make sense. There is definitely a hidden agenda here and it is disgusting! Seriously, why are these numbers ok now? They are not okay! The board admitted to it a year ago but now they have changed their minds…WHY?!

  6. Susie Holmes says:

    With all of the new construction going on in the northern part of the district, it doesn’t make sense to me that any school would close. Most likely, Marshall, Franklin, and Ingomar Elementary Schools will be getting a huge influx of young children within the next few years. There are young families specifically moving into McCandless due to affordability and the excellent neighborhood elementary schools. We need all 7 schools open to manage what will be coming. My biggest concern is why the rush to close any school? I don’t understand the refusal to have a community task force to evaluate all scenarios.

  7. Teresa Boley says:

    This whole thing needs more time, especially since a year ago the board was against closing a school. There have been no redistricting maps, a community task force isn’t being allowed, and only two studies have been presented and growth is based on the words of one sacred demographer. If the quality of our children’s education is so important to this board, you would think that these elected officials would want to make that a priority. They represent US! They work for US!

  8. Jo Paytas says:

    There is an amazing amount of flip-flopping and changes on the direction this should take in the last year from school board, which proves that they are rushing this through and not giving this the due diligence and consideration it deserves. We all know there is a hidden agenda, it’s a massive elephant in the board meeting room, yet the efforts to deny it on the board’s side are unbelievable. The black mark this will leave on the quality of education in North Allegheny and the ripple effect it will have in the community will be impossible to remove if this goes through. Those on the school board should be ashamed of themselves if they allow it.

  9. N. Wahlah says:

    I don’t think it is anyone’s best interest to close a school. The small amount of money saved will cost much more in the end. There will be overcrowded classrooms, elimination of valuable special programs to make room for more classrooms, lower property values and more money will go to fix up other schools that need repairs. I don’t see how it could be beneficial to NASD to close a perfectly maintained school like Peebles Elementry. I think it is worth postponing the purchase of new buses for a year to save a school and maintain NASD high quality education. I don’t even have children, but I pay my taxes and have pride in our school district. I don’t want this to lower my home’s value and with all the young families moving into my neighborhood, I don’t see a decline in enrollment.

  10. Stephanie M. says:

    I’m struck by how recent those comments are. Whats changed? I simply don’t understand how any responsible board member could vote to “keep our options open” based on such questionable statistics, projections and more importantly-questionable relationships. It’s so disappointing to see.

  11. Kevin Mahler says:

    I’m still going through all of the various reports, but based on my analysis so far, I particularly agree with Ms. Bishop’s suspicion that any “direct correlation between the birth data and class sizes” is tenuous at best. It assumes a steady rate of migration and little new construction.

    As noted above, the administration’s models have been predicting enrollment declines for quite some time, but have been proven wrong by actual events. In addition, Dr. Gualtieri has tried to use lower birth rates since 2004 as a justification for predicting lower school enrollment – but elementary school enrollment in the district has actually increased by about 2.1% in the last two years. That’s almost half of the growth seen since 2001. If the 2004 drop in birth rate was going to have an impact enrollment, we should have begun seen a downward trend by now.

    Any assertion about North Allegheny having excess capacity is based on two assumptions:
    1) Larger class sizes (in comparison to PA recommendations, past NA practices, and standards at comparable schools) are necessary and will have no impact on education, nor on perceptions of parents considering the NA schools.
    2) Enrollment will – at best – stay steady and is likely to decline.

    I do not think the facts back up either of these assertions.
    1) I believe larger class sizes are detrimental to both the experience of our students and perceptions of our schools among families that might consider moving to NA. While the closure MIGHT not result in larger class sizes, it is LIKELY to do so if much of the justification for closure relies on assuming that there should be 30 children in grade 3 to 5 classrooms, rather than 25.
    2) Until there is evidence of an actual decline in enrollment, there is little reason to believe assertions that we are likely to see a decline. In fact, recent growth is evidence to the contrary – and larger economic trends suggest that the housing market is picking up steam. That means we may see increased turnover of homes that are currently “aging in place” – and the Phase 2 Demographic Trends report clearly states that new migrants to North Hills communities are more likely to include young children, compared to other parts of Allegheny county.

    Instead of closing a school – an attention-seeking, political attempt to create the perception of offering real solutions – the administration should focus on ensuring that our schools offer the best possible education and student experience possible, while transparently exploring other ways to fix their budget problems and being honest with the public about the difficulties of doing so. In turn, the residents of the community need to understand the importance of the school system to our property values and quality of life and be prepared to support REAL solutions to our challenges.

  12. The board seems not to know quite what to do with numbers that don’t support a particular agenda. These comments seem to suggest that they know area voters and taxpayers who have challenged their plans are in the right, but they didn’t expect the opposition.

  13. heathercipriani says:

    I can appreciate the cost saving and/or revenue producing actions that have already been taken by the district, but it’s just not enough. Why not get more people involved in the efforts to make it a district and community-wide campaign? Other districts have also faced budgetary difficulties, and have instituted creative solutions to generate income and reduce expenses.

    A quick, ill-made decision to close an elementary school will be detrimental to the school district and must be avoided at all costs.

  14. Tom Podnar says:

    The Thomas & Williamson web site details their “approach” to public schools:

    part of their “approach” is as follows:

    “We begin by gathering information from your school board, administrators, educators, community members, and students about your unique vision for the school.”

    I would think that the proposed Community Task Force would be something that Thomas & Williamson would have insisted that the board create to help them follow their “approach” — especially since the end-result was that a neighborhood school was recommended to be closed.

    in our case, we are left wondering why community input, which Thomas & Williamson claims to be a foundation of their “approach”, was not considered in this closure recommendation.

  15. Tracy Rearick says:

    With all due respect, Mrs. Grosheider, Mr. Hubert and Mrs. Bishop; I have to question your credibility. You are pushing for efforts to close an elementary school based upon information that you know is inaccurate. Your actions will negatively impact every young child in this school district. I have heard you say, repeatedly, that the children of this school district are your number one priority. Really? Again, with all due respect, your actions are speaking louder than your words.

  16. Kerri Buschmeyer says:

    I would love to know what has changed in the past year that has caused this sudden about face. Our children are the ones who will suffer from whatever hidden agenda is behind all of this.

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