Six years later…(Or, School Board Elections 2019)

Posted: November 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

In 2013, a bipartisan group of NA residents from McCandless, Franklin Park, and Marshall Township came together to advocate for change on the North Allegheny School Board. At that time, most of the school board members had been on the Board for over a decade. The district lacked a long-term strategic plan:

1. The Board raised taxes for 3 years in a row (2010, 2011, and 2012).
2. Inaccurate projections led to the recommendation to close an elementary school — the District projected an $8 million deficit, but ended the year with a $5 million surplus. They projected that enrollment would decline, but it is now at an all-time high.
3. Elementary classes operated above class size guidelines (11 sections were above the guidelines at the start of the 2012-13 school year).
4. Classroom technology fell behind comparator districts (including Hampton and North Hills).
5. The District was not compliant with Board Policy #4125–which requires that the District maintain a Citizen’s Advisory Committee to provide feedback on important District matters.
6. The Board had made no preparations to mitigate the impact of a looming pension crisis.

As a result of these issues, Save NA Schools -a district-wide movement to took hold and 3 new members were elected to the NA School Board. After the 2013 election, board members chose new board leadership and began the process of moving NA forward.

During Disque and Mahler’s service, the following changes have occurred:

1. A new Budget and Finance Committee, comprised of 3 Board Members, was created to help prioritize District expenditures and develop a long-term plan with respect to fiscal management and tax increases.

2. A new Technology Advisory Committee, comprised of teachers, parents, and taxpayers, was created to provide a variety of stakeholders with the opportunity to develop recommendations around advancing classroom technology, which has been implemented as Focus 2020.

3. A new Elementary Class Size Policy was created to provide guidelines for determining the number of elementary sections at the start of the year.

4. The NA Foundation has been revitalized as source of alternative revenues, contributing $114,000 for supporting students in 2018.

5. A new Citizen’s Advisory Committee was reinstated to give NA constituents the opportunity to provide feedback on important District matters, and the district has surveyed students, parents, and staff on a number of issues.

6. The Board hired a new Superintendent, who has built a strong executive team and widened the district’s focus beyond test scores with the Measuring Success Framework.

7. The District hired a CMU demographer to better project enrollment. His work predicted the rapid growth being seen in the district, so the Board was able to plan ahead for changes to District infrastructure.

8. The District has hired a new Manager of Safety and Security to oversee improvements to building security, emergency preparedness and student safety.

9. The District has weathered the worst of the pension storm and emerged with the sixth-lowest millage rate in Allegheny County – with spending per student $3,000 below the County average.

Since 2013 the District has operated with a transparency that had not previously existed. Save NA Schools is proud to have helped move the District forward, advocating for members of the community as they sought change and transparency.

In this election, Save NA Schools feels there is a danger of losing this momentum. A board that is not attuned to the needs of the district could roll back the elementary class size policy and dismantle committees made up of teachers, parents, and taxpayers.

A board that is absolutely unwilling to consider raising taxes – no matter the need – will have to make cuts that will impact music, athletics, technology, and security.

On Tuesday, November 5, please vote DISQUE-MAHLER- WARNER to continue moving NA Forward.

  1. Joe Risacher says:

    Post this on social media also if you haven’t already. Thank you.

    Sent from my iPhone

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