Archive for May, 2013

North Allegheny Patch

North Allegheny School Board Winners: Time for ‘New Ideas’

Propelled by their unified opposition to closing any of North Allegheny’s elementary schools, newcomers Scott Russell and Tara Fisher, along with incumbent Ralph Pagone swept both parties’ primaries for North Allegheny school director Tuesday.

To read more, click here.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Primary 2013/North: Small turnout equals some big changes

The results for North Allegheny school board show “there is a strong sentiment to move the district forward with new ideas and initiatives,” said Tara Fisher, who won nominations for the Republican and Democratic ballots in November, according to unofficial results from the Allegheny County Elections Division.

To read more, click here.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Slate opposing school closure sweeps North Allegheny primary
May 22, 2013 12:38 am

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By Sandy Trozzo

The slate of candidates endorsed by a group opposed to the closing of Peebles Elementary School captured slots on both tickets for the North Allegheny School Board.

The three candidates who will appear on both tickets are Scott Russell, an IT director for General Nutrition Centers; Tara Zimmerman Fisher, a part-time business professor at the University of Pittsburgh; and Ralph Pagone, a regional manager for Richard Goettle, Inc.

To read more, click here.

In a local election, every vote counts. Please get out and vote today. Your vote can make all the difference!

Vote FISHER-PAGONE-RUSSELL and don’t select a fourth candidate on your ballot. Thank you for your support!

TRIO

Please only vote for three candidates at the polls tomorrow-FISHER-PAGONE-RUSSELL.  Do not select a fourth candidate on your ballot.  This is a common practice in elections where several candidates are vying for only a few spots.  It will help our 3 candidates be amongst the top vote getters once the votes are totaled.

The machine will notify you that you have an “incomplete ballot.”  Simply choose to “continue” and submit your ballot.

The top 4 vote getters are the only names that will appear on the ballot in November.  Only vote FISHER-PAGONE-RUSSELL!

A sample Republican ballot and a sample Democrat ballot are shown below.

republican ballot-page-001 democrat ballot-page-001

Many NA residents have now seen large signs and received campaign information from a group calling themselves “NA United.”  The group’s slogan is, “Fund Education, Not Empty Classrooms.”  Here is what you should know:

  1. “NA United” is comprised of a small group of people, primarily from Marshall Township, including Board President Maureen Grosheider, Board Member Linda Bishop, and Vice Chairman of the Marshall Township Board of Supervisors, Phil Troy.
  2. Metadata retrieved from a Microsoft Word document being circulated by “NA United” identifies Ms. Bishop’s husband as the author of the document and the North Allegheny School District as the company. In our opinion, this begs the question—was Ms. Bishop, or any other member of “NA United,” using taxpayer-funded District resources for political purposes? A copy of the metadata report is shown below.
  3. Ms. Bishop, Mr. Troy, and Ms. Grosheider want to see Dan Hubert re-elected and the status-quo preserved. Mr. Hubert has been on the school board since 1999. In an effort to maintain control, the “NA United” group has made several attempts to discredit newcomers Fisher and Russell. This is most directly evidenced by Mr. Troy contacting PFA and PTA presidents, who are precluded from taking a political position, and encouraging them to endorse Hubert-Wenig-Schwartzmier.  Mr. Troy is also responsible for spreading false rumors that Fisher and Russell would close Bradford Woods.

Meanwhile, no fear-mongering or negative campaigning has been undertaken by the other township organizations that are supporting candidates in this election. These groups have played by the rules in an effort to protect the integrity of the political process and allow the best candidates to prevail.

metadata

1) All three candidates have a vested interest in providing a quality education to students across the district–they are parents with elementary, middle, and high school students at North Allegheny. These candidates advocated for extra sections to correct class size, which is now included in the district’s 2013-14 plan.

2) All three candidates possess a strong skill set for moving the district forward–Ms. Fisher is a business professor and CPA, Mr. Pagone is a manager for an engineering/construction company, and Mr. Russell is an IT Director. These candidates advocated for new initiatives with respect to technology and STEM education, which are now included in the district’s 2013-14 plan.

3) All three candidates are proponents of financial stewardship–they believe the district should budget and plan for future obligations to ensure the best use of taxpayer funds. These candidates advocated for a PSERS reserve fund, which is now included in the district’s 2013-2014 plan.

4) All three candidates are advocates for the community–they believe residents should have a voice in matters that impact them. These candidates advocated for a community advisory committee to explore cost saving measures, which is now included in the district’s 2013-2014 plan.

5) All three candidates received a public school education and understand the value of public schools in our community–Ms. Fisher and Mr. Pagone are graduates of North Allegheny, and Mr. Russell is a graduate of Penn Hills. These candidates advocated for preserving the district’s successful education model, which postponed the vote on the closure of Peebles Elementary.

North Allegheny Patch
Vote to Close Peebles Elementary Delayed Indefinitely

North Allegheny School Board President Maureen Grosheider made the announcement Wednesday evening.

Suggesting that the proposed closure of Peebles Elementary School had become a distraction to the board and the community, North Allegheny School Board President Maureen Grosheider announced at Wednesday’s meeting that a vote on the issue would be delayed indefinitely.

To read more, click here.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

North Allegheny will not vote on closing Peebles Elementary

The North Allegheny School Board will not vote next week on an administration proposal to close Peebles Elementary School for the 2014-15 school year.

School board president Maureen Grosheider said Wednesday that board members would like to wait until there is new enrollment data, and they won’t have that until late August.

To read more, click here.

The recommendation to close a building is based on a projected decline in elementary enrollment. However, based on the district’s records, the administration’s 5-year enrollment projections have understated actual enrollment by several hundred students.

The large discrepancy in projected enrollment v. actual enrollment for the last 3 years is a clear reason why no building in the district should be closed.

This information was obtained under the Right-to-Know Law:

May 15 Chart final

2010- 2011 Projected elementary enrollment = 3281

Projected 2010-2011 enrollment

2010-2011 Actual elementary enrollment =3526

actual 10-11

2011-2012 Projected elementary enrollment = 3275

projected 2011-2012 enrollment

2011-2012 Actual elementary enrollment = 3574

Actual 2011-2012 enrollment

2012-2013 Projected elementary enrollment = 3188

projected 2012-2013 enrollment

2012-2013 Actual elementary enrollment = 3531

Actual 2012-2013 enrollment

SaveNASchools encourages residents to attend the school board meeting this Wednesday, May 15th at 7pm. The meeting will be held in the Central Administrative Office Board Room.

This is the last board meeting before the May 22nd proposed vote to close Peebles. It is also the last board meeting before the May 21st primary election.

Residents interested in registering to speak can do so by contacting School Board Secretary Rose Mary Ryan at rryan@northallegheny.org or 412-369-5437.

Our endorsed candidates, FISHER-PAGONE-RUSSELL, have support from residents across the district because they have spent the last several months advocating that ALL SEVEN elementary schools should remain open in order to preserve the district’s successful education model.

By taking a district-wide approach, making fact-based arguments, and being passionate about education, our candidates have gained much recognition. We believe their credentials and community service are further testaments to their character and we have included a profile on each of them below.

fisherb&wTara Zimmerman Fisher

Tara (Zimmerman) Fisher grew up in Franklin Park and graduated from North Allegheny. She has an undergraduate and graduate degree in accounting from the University of Virginia. Ms. Fisher started her CPA career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington, DC and was later assigned to their U.S. Tax Desk in London, England. She also spent several years working for Congress as an accountant with the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Ms. Fisher and her husband, Ryan, moved from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh six years ago so that they could be near family and raise their 3 children (ages 7, 5, and 3) in the North Allegheny School District. Ms. Fisher is a part-time business professor at the University of Pittsburgh and she enjoys teaching tax and accounting classes to undergraduate and graduate students. She also serves on the Memorial Park Christian Preschool Board.

Ms. Fisher believes the district needs a long-term financial plan to preserve the programs and curriculum associated with North Allegheny’s elite status. She wants to help the board budget and plan for future obligations so that the district is effective in making strategic decisions (e.g. establishing a reserve for state mandated pension contributions). She also wants to help the district forge ahead in areas like STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). She believes a tuition-based STEM education program could help the district generate new revenue.

pagoneb&wRalph J. Pagone

Ralph J. Pagone grew up in McCandless and graduated from North Allegheny High School. He also attended the University of Pittsburgh and has an Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Mr. Pagone and his wife, Bridget, have 4 daughters: two that graduated from North Allegheny, one at NASH, and one at Carson Middle. He is the Regional Manager for Richard Goettle, Inc., a geotechnical engineering and construction firm.

Mr. Pagone is an active member of the community. He has been a volunteer firefighter in the Town of McCandless for nearly 30 years. Mr. Pagone was responsible for implementing Fire Prevention Week safety visits at McKnight Elementary over 15 years ago and they still continue today. He also is a CPR and First Aid instructor throughout the North Allegheny community. Mr. Pagone has been active in the Ingomar/Franklin Park Athletic Association, McCandless Athletic Association, and is the Head Coach of the North Allegheny Varsity Girls Slow-Pitch Softball team.

Mr. Pagone has served on the North Allegheny School Board since 2005. During his time on the school board, Mr. Pagone has been integral in implementing several initiatives for the betterment of the district. These initiatives include the construction of a new Student Council room at NASH, the creation of fitness trails at NAI, the implementation of a new CPR program for 9th grade students, and the expansion of the district’s drug prevention policies. Mr. Pagone recently submitted a report to the board that includes a variety of options for raising funds via alternative revenue sources.

scottb&wScott Russell

Scott Russell grew up in the Pittsburgh area and graduated from Penn Hills High School. He earned a degree in Computer Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Russell has 4 children: two at Carson Middle, one with special needs at Marshall Middle, and one at Hosack Elementary.

Mr. Russell is the IT Director for General Nutrition Centers (GNC), which is headquartered in Pittsburgh. He started his career with GNC 25 years ago as a programmer analyst. Mr. Russell is also an active member of the community. He has coached soccer, flag football, and served on the board of the Cystic Fibrosis GNC Challenge. His wife, Eileen, has served as the President of the Hosack PFA for two separate terms.

Mr. Russell believes the district needs a sound IT strategy to better prepare our students for the information age. He would like to help guide that process to make sure the district is meeting the needs of students, teachers, and parents. As a director at a large company, Mr. Russell is also equipped to confront the financial challenges facing the district. He has experience establishing and managing budgets, while considering the future needs of the organization. In addition, his hands on experience with special needs will provide the board with additional insight and sensitivities related to students with disabilities. Mr. Russell’s background in IT, financial planning, and special needs can benefit the district on many levels.