Posts Tagged ‘NASD’

Chris Disque will be running against Maureen Grosheider in this November’s general election. Chris Disque made it onto the Republican ballot in the primary election and Maureen Grosheider made it onto the Democratic ballot in the primary election. The other remaining candidates made it onto both the Republican and Democratic ballots in the primary election.

If you are a registered Democrat, it’s important that you don’t vote a straight party ticket in the general election. If you do, your vote will go to Maureen Grosheider instead of Chris Disque.

Please share this ballot information with friends and family who live in the District.

If you have a group sign from the primary, please put it back in your yard at this time. You will also begin to see individual signs for Chris Disque to help promote his candidacy.

We will be posting additional election information between now and Tuesday, November 3rd to keep people informed. Thank you for your continued support!

November 3 ballot

November 3 ballot



The North Allegheny School Board has approved $20.5 million in renovations for Marshall Middle School and Bradford Woods and Marshall elementary schools.

The work will include a new student drop-off driveway at Marshall Elementary, and installing security cameras, repairing masonry and replacing steps, sidewalks, flooring, doors and more, in addition to other work, at all three schools.

The board approved awarding $2.1 million in building renovation contracts for other schools.

To read more, click here.

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.

There is a North Allegheny school board meeting on Wednesday, October 24th at 7pm at the Central Admin Offices that will cover information relevant to all elementary school parents. At this meeting, the district’s administration will provide an update on the Phase II Demographics and Feasibility Study and document their work

over the past month. More specifically, the administration will review:

1) Building capacities,
2) Enrollment trends, and the
3) Current educational program.

The administration will also share their “modeling” criteria for different scenarios (e.g. closing an elementary school), communication, and next steps.

Elementary school parents are encouraged to attend so that they can hear first-hand the details of all proposals being considered by the administration and the school board.

Parents demand formation of a community task force to tackle both issues

By Richard Cook, NA Patch
September 26, 2012

For the second time this month, the North Allegheny School board got an earful from elementary school parents who say they are frustrated by increasing class sizes and fearful the board will close at least one elementary school.

At the most recent meeting Sept. 19, more than a half-dozen parents waited nearly two hours to address the board at the end of its regular agenda.

“My daughter goes to Hosack Elementary. Her class has 32 students,” Bill Lungren told the board.

“I had a chance to visit her classroom the other week, and I noticed there was hardly any room to move around,” Lungren said. “The desks were practically stacked on top of each other. Were these rooms designed by the original architect to handle this many students?”

School board member Linda Bishop said the district has increased class sizes to help balance its current budget.

“We’re now at the point where some very difficult decisions are going to have to be made, and one of those already this year was to float some of the class sizes,” Bishop said. “We didn’t furlough any teachers. We simply didn’t replace some teachers who retired.”

Kevin Mahler, who said he was speaking on behalf of a group of concerned parents, said he believes class size will inevitably impact the quality of education for the children of North Allegheny.

“As the cliché says, perception is reality, and there is an overwhelming perception that people like smaller class sizes, especially parents when they are choosing a school district,” he said.

Mahler said he wants the district to clearly define a policy and set limits for class sizes, particularly in the elementary schools.

“North Hills has a clear maximum (class size) of 23 students in K-2 and 25 students in grades 3-5. We often get compared in my neighborhood because you can live across the street from each other and be in either North Allegheny or North Hills (districts). That’s not a selling point anymore.”

Amanda Hartle, communications coordinator for the North Hills School Districtclarified that in grades K-1, that district’s maximum class size is 20 students per class with a single teacher, or 23 students with a teacher and a teaching assistant. In grades 2-3, the maximum is 23 students per class with a single teacher, and 25 students with a teacher and teaching assistant.

In grades 4-6 at North Hills, the maximum is 25 students per class with a single teacher, or 27 with a teacher and a teaching assistant.

Many North Allegheny parents also expressed the desire for the board to form a community task force to discuss solutions to larger classes as well as the recommendation last month from consulting firm Thomas & Williamson that Peebles Elementary be closed to equalize elementary enrollment.

“Let’s work to find lasting solutions and not Band-Aids to our budgetary problems,” said Chris Disque, a North Allegheny parent.

Before the board can vote to close a school, it must hold at least one public hearing, advertised at least 15 days in advance. The board cannot vote for at least three months after the hearing.

Board President Maureen Grosheider said the board will have new demographic data at its next meeting that could potentially impact recommendations about any potential school closings. That meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The recent proposal to close Peebles Elementary school raises concerns due to:
1) The mathematically inaccurate conclusions and questionable projections included in the Phase 2 Demographics & Feasibility Study.
2) The ability of the remaining 6 elementary schools to provide adequate capacity for all elementary school students without an increase in class size.
3) The lack of financial data related to both the cost savings from closing a school and the future costs that would need to be incurred with respect to repairs and renovations at the remaining 6 elementary school buildings.

We do not believe that closing an elementary school is the solution to the district’s budgeting problems.  We believe more time and resources are needed to explore all viable long-term solutions. We have petitioned for a community task force that would involve the entire district in helping brainstorm proposals that will keep North Allegheny the school district of choice based on its excellence in education.

Please help support us in this endeavor by signing the petition for a community task force, attending monthly school board meetings to stay informed, and getting your friends and neighbors to join our Facebook page.

You are invited to attend the Superintendent’s Coffee.

Attendance is not limited to NA parents– but is open to the entire community.

• Meet District Administrators.
• Hear an overview of key information for parents.
• Q & A will close the session.

Bradford Woods Elementary School • 41 Forest Road • Bradford Woods, PA 15015 • 724-935-5081

Please attend the September school board meeting. We need your support at Wednesday night’s (tomorrow) school board meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Central Admin Office, located inside of Carson Middle School, at 7pm.  The address is 200 Hillvue Lane.

The representation we have there tomorrow night is critical! Please tell 3 people– and have them tell 3 people. We need to be accurately represented.
Many parents have signed up to speak regarding the recommendation to close Peebles Elementary, elementary class size, and our on-going request for the school board to appoint a committee of local residents including parents, financial professionals, teachers, and local leaders to find more appropriate solutions to district’s challenges.

Your attendance will speak volumes.


The proposal to close Peebles Elementary is about a new model for elementary education across the district that will increase class sizes in EVERY elementary school. It is a district-wide issue and we need to gain district-wide support.

More specifically, closing Peebles is part of a plan to maximize utilization of the elementary buildings by increasing class sizes. Out of the 145 elementary sections, 7 are currently above 30. The board can redistrict to correct this problem and create equity across the schools. Closing Peebles will allow them to increase class sizes in EVERY elementary school to their new “target capacity” after the redistricting.

This is about 30 students becoming the norm for grades 3-5 instead of the exception. The exception (7 out of 145 sections) is fixed by redistricting. Closing one of the seven elementary schools means going to a new model of 30 students in all intermediate grades (3rd-5th) across the district.

We need to argue that larger class sizes make it more difficult for teachers to effectively teach curriculum and gives them less time with each student. This is extremely detrimental at the elementary school level where kids are just being introduced to the educational model and structure. In addition, adding just one or two kids to a classroom can greatly increase the classroom complexity for the teacher given each kid has a different ability to learn, different social/emotional background, and different set of needs.

We need to ADVOCATE REDISTRICTING to create more equity across all elementary schools and better utilization of “excess capacity” in some buildings, but to LEAVE PEEBLES OPEN so that class sizes don’t swell beyond a reasonable level after the redistricting.

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: