Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Tribune Review’

Letter to the Editor

Published 1.9.13 in the Pittsburgh Trib

I am a North Allegheny School District resident, alumnus and a parent of a daughter with special needs. I am extremely disappointed and concerned with the actions of North Allegheny‘s administration in its proposal to close Peebles Elementary School.

At the Nov. 14 school board meeting, the proposed floor plans for the remaining buildings put the hearing-impaired program into a receiving area at Hosack Elementary that currently houses cafeteria tables (aka a storage area). This was done after the administration assured the public that careful thought and consideration had been put into the placement of special needs programs.

At the Nov. 28 board meeting, Brian Miller, assistant superintendent of K-12 education, acknowledged that the district will be moving the hearing-impaired to a second-floor room at Hosack. This only came after parents mailed the floor plans to each and every board member, demanding that a change occur.

This greatly concerns me because, without parent action, the administration would have been content leaving the hearing-impaired exactly where they placed them in the storage area. This is just one example of the lack of due diligence and negligence that has taken place by the administration throughout this process.

Jamie Karlovits

McCandless

“The District claimed that it had no substitute teachers because the substitutes were hired through an identified contractor.” —Pennsylvania Department of Open Records.

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On August 9th, 2012 the Pittsburgh Tribune Review submitted a request, pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law, seeking records related to North Allegheny’s teachers and substitute teachers. [The RTKL is “designed to promote access to official government information in order to prohibit secrets, scrutinize the actions of public officials and make public officials accountable for their actions.”]

On October 10, 2012, the district claimed that the request from the Trib “improperly sought information rather than records, was insufficiently specific, and that certain records do not exist.” The district also “claimed that it had no substitute teachers because the substitutes were hired through an identified contractor.”

On October 15, 2012 the Tribune Review appealed to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. After a full review of the appeal,  North Allegheny was required to release the information it initially refused.  Taxpayer dollars were spent fighting what the state determined was “a valid request for records.” The facts of the case are outlined in detail in the Final Determination document issued by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records on December 3, 2012.  The full text is available here.

The administration’s actions in this case illustrate the same poor fiscal stewardship the district demonstrated in commissioning Jon Thomas, a consultant whose prior work on the district’s elementary schools resulted in a lawsuit that cost NA taxpayers half a million dollars, to give a “second opinion” on the matter of closing an elementary school.

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See related post:  NA refuses to release substitute costs; Loses on appeal