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A slate of candidates opposed to closing an elementary school and higher elementary class sizes will hold four seats on the school board.

Because three candidates endorsed by the Save NA Schools group won nomination in May on both the Democratic and Republican tickets, the race was basically between incumbents Thomas Schwartzmier on the Republican ballot and Daniel Hubert on the Democratic ballot for the fourth four-year term.

Mr. Schwartzmier received 62 percent of more than 5,300 votes to defeat Mr. Hubert. Tara Zimmerman Fisher, who received the most votes (4,917), Scott Russell and incumbent Ralph Pagone were the other winners.

“It’s incredible to see what has been achieved by a group of thoughtful, committed residents in this district,” said Mrs. Fisher, a 1994 graduate of North Allegheny.

Mr. Russell said he was “excited to serve as a school director for North Allegheny. “I look forward to working with the current and new board members.”

“The results of yesterday’s election were a huge win for the current students, future students, and taxpayers of the North Allegheny School District,” Mr. Pagone said.

“Thank you to our friends and citizens for being informed and educated voters, and congratulations on having your voices heard.”

A candidate endorsed by Save NA Schools also took the two-year term created when Beth Ludwig resigned.

Kevin Mahler, who was running as an Independent, defeated the endorsed Republican candidate, Gary Wenig. The Democrats did not nominate a candidate for the special election.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone who helped with my campaign,” Mr. Mahler said. “As a school director, I will work hard to represent the best interests of the whole NA community.”

With the election, seven of the nine school board seats will be held by McCandless residents. Mr. Schwartzmier lives in Franklin Park, while board President Maureen Grosheider lives in Marshall. Linda Bishop, who also lives in Marshall, did not seek re-election.

— Sandy Trozzo

To read more, click here.

The ballot for the November 5th election is shown below. The candidates endorsed by SaveNASchools have a check mark next to them.  Scott Russell, Tara Fisher and Ralph Pagone are running for 4-year terms.  Kevin Mahler is running for a 2-year term.

Please share this with other NA residents, friends, and family members.

ballot.final

click for ballot

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

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
Superintendent’s Call to Delay Closing of Peebles Elementary Draws Mixed Reaction From Board, Parents

Dr. Raymond Gualtieri is now recommending the school close at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

By Richard Cook, Editor

[To read complete text,  click here]

Board member Thomas Schwartzmier said he was very happy with the delay in the Peebles closing.

“I’m glad that we reconsidered that, it’s something that I would have brought up at the vote had we not talked about it in advance,” he said.  “I think this will give everyone more time to react appropriately as we move forward.”

Board member Christopher Jacobs wondered about the sudden recommendation to add classrooms at McKnight Elementary.

“I felt the administration did their homework and was very confident in their recommendation,” he said. “Why wasn’t that (adding classrooms to McKnight) part of the initial recommendation? Are we less confident now than we were before?”

“I don’t know that we’re less confident but we heard over and over again from parents that parents were not confident with that,” Gualtieri responded. “The administration was confident that the 12 or so spare classrooms was enough, but we heard that over and over again from 330 people as we went through the various elementary schools and we tried to address that concern.”

Alison Fujito, a parent, told the board she couldn’t buy that argument.

“There’s just too much contradiction here for me to have a whole lot of confidence in your current recommendations,” she said. “I’m kinda shocked that these concerns that we’ve raised, 300 of us have raised, you keep calling them parental concerns, why aren’t they your concerns?”

Board member Ralph Pagone reiterated his opposition to closing Peebles at all.

“The last thing any district should do is close a school,” he said. “I still feel there are stones we haven’t unturned yet and I would ask that we continue to do that. “The thing that’s glaringly missing from this power point presentation to me is the $10-14-million dollars in cost that Bradford Woods elementary is going to need. I’d like to see that addressed. The building is going to continue to deteriorate.”

Board President Maureen Grosheider said, she too, wanted to make sure all options were explored when it comes to operating the district efficiently.

“I want to make sure we’ve done our job and our homework to make sure that we are as lean as we can be in as many appropriate places that we can be,” she said. “I would like to see money in the classroom, that’s where I think it belongs.”

At this week’s school board meeting, Mr. Pagone and Mr. Jacobs continued to challenge colleagues over the proposed plan to close Peebles.  Mr. Pagone made a motion to indefinitely postpone the public hearing and it was seconded by Mr. Jacobs.  The only challenge to the motion was from Ms. Ludwig, which prompted a heated exchange.  You can watch a video of the exchange by linking to the article on the NA Patch website.

The administration has proposed closing Peebles Elementary, but the school board is still undecided on the issue. It is the 9 school board members who have the power to close a building. The administration does NOT have power to do anything other than make the recommendation.

SaveNASchools encourages all North Allegheny residents to get involved in the effort to SAVE ALL SEVEN elementary schools in the district.

Top Ten Ways To Get Involved

  1. Attend the January 30th Public Hearing at 7pm in the Carson Middle School Auditorium
  2. Register to speak by emailing school board secretary, Rose Mary Ryan rryan@northallegheny.org
  3. Sign up as at www.savenaschools.com to receive information and updates
  4. Forward the emails from SaveNASchools to friends and neighbors
  5. Like our Facebook page
  6. Write a letter to the editor at the Post Gazette or Tribune Review
  7. Contact school board members by mail or by phone
  8. Invite friends and neighbors to attend the Jan. 30th hearing with you
  9. Volunteer to distribute flyers about the Public Hearing in your neighborhood (email us!)
  10. Email savenaschools@gmail.com with other ideas.

School board members Ralph Pagone and Chris Jacobs voted “no” to scheduling a public hearing for the closure of Peebles. Thus, they already agree that proceeding with closing Peebles, given the current facts, is not in the best interest of the district.

The following three school board members are open-minded, friendly, and still undecided on the issue. If you want to write a letter or make a phone call to a school board member, we recommend focusing your efforts on these three members. As a taxpayer and citizen, it is your democratic right to lobby elected officials.  The contact information for all school board members is made public on the district’s website. It has been provided here for your convenience.

  • Libby Blackburn 1015 Woodland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412-364-0314
  • Joseph Greenberg, Ph.D. 1000 Woodland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412-635-9520
  • Thomas C. Schwartzmier 2538 Cole Road, Wexford, PA 15090 724-935-4964

Additional members of the school board include:

  • Maureen M. Grosheider, President 103 Quail Hollow Lane, Wexford, PA 15090 724-935-2134
  • Daniel E. Hubert, Vice President 200 Wally Nue Court, Wexford, PA 15090 724-935-1355
  • Linda Bishop 1180 Woodland Road, Baden, PA 15005 724-772-2371
  • Beth A. Ludwig 231 Edelweiss Drive, Wexford, PA 15090 724-933-0234
  • *Christopher M. Jacobs 3966 N. Monet Court, Allison Park, PA 15101 412-487-1479
  • *Ralph J. Pagone 8761 Casa Grande Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412-635-7155 (work)