Archive for the ‘NA School District Communications’ Category

To review the NASD E-Report from the December 18, 2013 school board meeting, please click here.

The administration’s presentation, “Redistricting Update 12/18/13,”  can be viewed here.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2014 at 7pm.
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Recently-elected School Board members – Mrs. Tara Fisher, Mr. Kevin Mahler, Mr. Ralph Pagone, Mr. Scott Russell, and Mr. Tom Schwartzmier – took the Oath of Office at the Reorganization meeting on December 4, 2013.  To read more, click here.

To review the E-Report from Wednesday’s meeting, please click here.

The next meeting of the NA Board of School Directors is scheduled for December 18, 2013 at 7pm.

At the school board meeting on Wednesday night, the administration said the offer from Architectural Innovations to do a more comprehensive demographics and feasibility analysis has been respectfully declined.

The offer letter from Architectural Innovations can be viewed here.

The administration’s explanation for declining the offer has been posted to the district’s website and is shown below.

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“Update: February 28, 2013

 We understand a letter was submitted by Architectural Innovations to the North Allegheny School District in January 2013 in which they offered the School District free “services to complete the Feasibility Study and Demographic Analysis, which would encompass the entire School District…substantiate all estimated costs…could include another demographic analysis….” What is the North Allegheny School District’s intention relative to this offer of free services?

The North Allegheny School District administration will not be engaging in any further work contracts for services related to the current Demographics and Feasibility Study at this time. This Study was originally initiated for three reasons: (1) to analyze the need for renovations and upgrades at Bradford Woods Elementary (BWE), Marshall Elementary (MES) and Marshall Middle (MMS) Schools; (2) to review building capacities; and (3) to provide a demographic study with a ten-year projection of student enrollment. Both the Architectural Innovations report presented in August 2011 (Phase I) and the Thomas & Williamson report (Phase II) presented in August 2012 provided detailed information relative to all three of these criteria. District administration also conducted its own detailed demographic study as a part of the research phase of this project.

While the January letter received from Architectural Innovations inferred otherwise, District administrators recently verified with the firm that their original study did, in fact, provide a capacity analysis of all twelve schools – not just BWE, MES, and MMS. The District sees no need for the additional study, since all the relevant work offered in the January 2013 proposal was completed by this firm and reported on in August 2011.

All the components of the Demographic and Feasibility Study – the Architectural Innovations report, the Thomas & Williamson report, the NASD research and data collection, and community input – are currently being used as a reference by the School Board as they decide whether or not to close Peebles Elementary School (PES). Information relative to secondary schools is not integral to that current concern. The existing information is adequate to support planning that may occur for re-districting at both the elementary and middle school levels.

With regard to the similarities and differences between the Architectural Innovations report (Phase I) and the Thomas & Williamson report (Phase II), both consultants agreed that BWE, MES, and MMS require renovations and upgrades. However, the two reports offer plans that recommend different timelines and different budgetary objectives. Those timelines and budgetary objectives influenced the recommendations of each consultant.

Based upon their findings, the Architectural Innovations report presented more than a dozen recommendations, in response to their identification of over-capacity at the elementary level. The top three recommendations included (1) doing nothing but extensive renovations at BWE, MES and MMS; or (2) closing BWE and doing renovations/upgrades; or (3) closing BWE and PES and doing renovations/upgrades.

Thomas & Williamson presented three options for consideration by the District, based upon their identification of over-capacity at the elementary level. Their recommended option was that of closing PES.

The demographic studies from both reports come to the same conclusions relative to elementary student enrollment over the next ten years. Stable to slightly declining enrollment was projected by both. This information also coincides with the yearly study done by the District administration and the annual work that occurs in support of District enrollment and staffing projections.

As such, Architectural Innovations has been informed that the District is satisfied at this point in time with the sum total of the research and data that has been gathered in support of this project. The scope of their report was complete as submitted. While they offered to retain another demographer at no charge, the conclusions of the original demographer who conducted the study for Architectural Innovations have been verified over the course of the last year and half by two other sources.

It is worth noting that, after Architectural Innovations presented their August 2011 report, the Board requested the Phase II study. The administration issued an RFP detailing the additional work required. Architectural Innovations responded to the Phase II RFP. The quote they submitted was two times higher than the cost of their Phase I study. The District could not justify paying that amount of money for the scope of work in the Phase II study. In negotiations, the District reduced the scope of the RFP and asked Architectural Innovations for another bid. Their quote was still more than 30% higher than the cost of the Phase I work. Ultimately, Thomas & Williamson was selected to do the full scope of work originally requested in the Phase II study.

The work on the Demographic and Feasibility Study has continued for 18 months following the delivery of the Architectural Innovations Phase I report. This project has had on-going exposure in the public forum. The North Allegheny School District has not heard from Architectural Innovations since their bid on the Phase II RFP until the receipt of the letter dated January 2013. After thoughtful consideration, their offer to do additional work has been respectfully declined.”

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Related Posts:  New Development: Consulting Firm Urges District To Seek More Data


On Aug 17, 2011, School Board President Maureen Grosheider commented on growth in the district and the idea of closing an elementary building.  We believe these comments are important and should be heard by residents across the district before attending the public hearing tomorrow:

Attend the Public Hearing tomorrow, at 7pm in the Carson Middle School Auditorium, 200 Hillvue Lane, Pittsburgh

Advocate for all 3,500+ elementary students in the district by telling the school board to keep Peebles Elementary open!

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See related post–  2011: Board members express concern about enrollment projections

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.”

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Related posts:

Trib article: Community group questions North Allegheny enrollment projections

Letter to the Editor: Decline in student enrollment never materializes

SaveNASchools Community report

At the last NA School board meeting, community members were urged to post questions to the NA Community blog to have their answers regarding school closing recommendations, the Phase 2 Feasibility report, capacity studies, cost savings, redistricting, etc answered in a public forum by the administration.

Here is the link.
NA Community Blog

You’ll notice the last comments were from the end of September.  Please let the administration know that you have questions, that you are concerned, and that you want answers!

Here is a list of useful links for North Allegheny parents and all residents.  This list will be expanded as necessary:

North Allegheny School District links:

Facility Information: