Posts Tagged ‘Peebles Elementary’

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Moving students out of Franklin Elementary School in Franklin Park to relieve crowding will be a challenge, North Allegheny School District administrators have told board members.

Most of the Franklin students live very close to the school, Roger Botti, supervisor of transportation and operations, told the board at its Oct. 23 meeting.

That means that many of them would have to travel farther to school than they do now, he said.

To read more, click here.

Related Posts:

Redistricting and Projections October 25, 2013

Erroneous Enrollment Projections May 15, 2013

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Leaders of the Save NA Schools citizens group said the decision by North Allegheny school board officers not to schedule a vote on closing Peebles Elementary School in McCandless was the right one.

To read more, click here.

Click on the link to watch an animated video about the recommendation to close Peebles.

  1. Please plan to arrive by 6:30pm and sign the attendance sheet.  The line to sign in will be long, but we need everyone to register so the district has an accurate count of those present.
  2. If you haven’t already registered to speak, there will be an opportunity to sign up for a 2-minute time slot immediately upon arrival.  The sign-up sheet for speakers will be available from 6:00-7:15pm.
  3. According to the school board secretary, there are 109 speakers that have reserved a 5-minute time slot.  (Some residents may not take the full 5 minutes.)  Please plan accordingly by bringing drinks, snacks, and other items you may need to make it to the end of the hearing. 


Thank you to all of the residents who are planning to attend this evening and advocate on behalf of the 3,500+ elementary students in the district!

Today is the last day to email the school board secretary to register to speak at the public hearing on Wednesday, January 30th.  We are urging all residents to register to speak and advocate for the district’s successful elementary education model by keeping all seven schools open.

The more residents that register,  the more powerful the public record.

Please register today to have your voice be heard.

ALL NON-PEEBLES PARENTS, please make the following statement before you begin your remarks: “I AM NOT A PEEBLES PARENT, I AM AN [INGOMAR] PARENT.”

Each parent that makes this statement will help remind the board that this proposal impacts 3,500+ elementary students– not just the students at Peebles Elementary.

To register to speak at the hearing, you simply need to email Rose Mary Ryan, Board Secretary, at rryan@northallegheny.org and state, “I would like to register to speak at the public hearing on January 30th.  Please confirm receipt.”  This will meet the requirement of a “formal written request.”  You will have 5 minutes to make your statement and no questions will be asked of you.

You must register before 3pm.

Please note:  If you have addressed the school board in the past, none of your prior comments are included in the public record for the hearing.  To have your comments be part of the public record for closing the school, you must speak at the public hearing.  You do not have to come up with a new topic, a new subject, or even new words– please feel free to use notes or content from your past statements.

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

Letter to the Editor, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 15, 2013

In September, North Allegheny School District parents attended school board meetings to express concern over a proposal to close Peebles Elementary. Board President Maureen Grosheider scolded residents, saying only a threat of school closure made parents pay attention.

The board was presented with 1,000-plus signatures asking for a task force to allow residents to help tackle the district‘s $10 million projected 2013-14 deficit prior to closing a school ($850,000 savings). Espe Elementary closed in 1999 — only after the district received input from a 36-member community group.

Parents delivered a 30-page analysis to the board outlining reasons against a school closure. Did Ms. Grosheider listen? During the presentation, she refused to open her copy of the report.

Now Grosheider and her hand-picked New York superintendent, Raymond Gualtieri, have a choice: Do they listen to the hundreds of parents attending meetings? Or does only their opinion matter?

In the face of community opposition, a comprehensive study and evidence of flawed data, Grosheider seems determined to close Peebles. Why? Maybe because her school in Bradford Woods is in need of renovation ($8 million to $14 million) and only a year ago was targeted for closure. It appears that a plan to save her own school by closing another is under way.

John Harrison II

McCandless

Ralph J. Pagone says opponents of the proposed closing of Peebles Elementary are “not getting their voices fairly heard.”

When the North Allegheny School Board on Dec. 19 scheduled a public hearing on Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri’s proposal to close Peebles Elementary School, board members Ralph J. Pagone and Christopher M. Jacobs voted “no.”

Scheduling such a hearing is the first step a school board is legally required to take before it can consider closing a school.

At the school board meeting Nov. 28, Gualtieri told the board that closing Peebles would save $850,000 annually for the district, which is facing a $5.7 million deficit. He also argued that the district’s enrollment continues to decline and that its elementary schools are not full and have room for Peebles students.

The community group Save NA Schools has been leading the opposition to closing Peebles, and Pagone has been listening.

The group repeatedly has asked the board to form a community task force which would provide additional ideas for addressing the district’s projected budget deficits prior to a decision on closing an elementary school. It’s not clear what, if any, power the task force would hold and who would be part of it. The board has not addressed that request.

“Why not take a step back and enlist the help of these taxpayers?” Pagone said. “They are intelligent people who have made compelling arguments. We are the stewards of their tax dollars, after all.”

After the board meeting Dec. 19, board member Beth Ludwig indicated she would vote against the formation of a community task force even though she was originally open to the idea.

“I would not want to subject any non-elected community members to the tone and intensity of the current debate,” she said. “Also, at this point, I would not know what the board would have a task force do.”

Pagone said he has a different opinion.

“ Save NA Schools is made up of well-educated people, and they are not getting their voice fairly heard,” he said.

He said he also questions the wisdom of ignoring the recommendation of one consultant who recommended closing Bradford Woods Elementary because of the need for extensive repairs. Instead, the board favors the findings of a second study by Jon Thomas of the Thomas & Williamson construction program management firm, which suggests the opposite.

Thomas & Williamson is the same firm which, along with the school district, was the target of a lawsuit by James Construction Co. over renovations at Hosack Elementary in the late 1990s. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Timothy Patrick O’Reilly ruled against the district and awarded damages of $524,087.

“We had 12 experts who told us what some board members didn’t want to hear,” Pagone said. “So what did we do? We tossed out that study and got a second opinion from a firm which we had questionable dealings with in the past as a result of a prior construction project.”

Pagone said he agrees with members of the Save NA Schools group that enrollment in the district will rise.

“Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania are experiencing an increase in population for the first time in decades, and people will want buy either new or existing homes in the North Allegheny School District,” he said.

Pagone said he does believe the board should take action to alleviate overcrowded classrooms, particularly at Hosack Elementary, by redistricting elementary students.

And if a majority of the board ultimately decides to close one of the district’s seven elementary schools, Pagone said he believes the wrong school has been targeted.

“If you want to close a building, why not close Bradford Woods Elementary, which the initial report tells us needs $14 million in renovations?” he said. “We don’t have that kind of money, and Peebles doesn’t need any renovations.

To read more on the administration’s arguments for closing Peebles Elementary, click here.

To read the counter-arguments from Save NA schools, click here.

Read more:  http://northallegheny.patch.com/articles/north-allegheny-board-member-challenges-colleagues-on-proposed-school-closing