Posts Tagged ‘projections’

Two years ago, a bipartisan group of NA residents came together to advocate for change on the North Allegheny School Board.   At that time, most of the school board members had been on the Board for over a decade, including Maureen Grosheider–who has been on the Board for 2 decades.
 
Under Grosheider’s Leadership, NA lacked a long-term strategic plan:
  1. The Board raised taxes for 3 years in a row (2010, 2011, and 2012).
  2. Inaccurate projections led to the recommendation to close an elementary school–the District projected an $8 million deficit, but ended the year with a $5 million surplus and an increase in elementary enrollment.
  3. Elementary classes operated above class size guidelines (11 sections were above the guidelines at the start of the 2012-13 school year).
  4. Classroom technology fell behind comparator districts (including Hampton and North Hills).
  5. The District was not compliant with Board Policy #4125–which requires that the District maintain a Citizen’s Advisory Committee to provide feedback on important District matters.
As a result of these issues, the district-wide movement to Save NA Schools took hold and 3 new members were elected to the NA School Board.  After the 2013 election, board members chose new board leadership and began the process of moving NA forward.
 
Under New Board Leadershipthe following changes have occurred:
 
  1. A new Budget and Finance Committee, comprised of 3 Board Members, was created to help prioritize District expenditures and develop a long-term plan with respect to fiscal management and tax increases.
  2. A new Technology Advisory Committee, comprised of teachers, parents, and taxpayers, was created to provide a variety of stakeholders with the opportunity to develop recommendations around advancing classroom technology. 
  3. A new Elementary Class Size Policy was created to provide guidelines for determining the number of elementary sections at the start of the year.
  4. A new Alternative Revenue Initiative was created for soliciting “payments in lieu of taxes” from large, non-profit organizations that reside in the District and benefit from the NA brand.  
  5. A new Citizen’s Advisory Committee was reinstated to give NA constituents the opportunity to provide feedback on important District matters.
 
As you can see, many positive changes have occurred under new board leadership.  We believe it’s important to keep that momentum going.  
 
Vote FILIAGGI, FINLEY, MAHLER, MEYER, DISQUE, & BLACKBURN on May 19th to Move NA Forward!
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The two redistricting scenarios presented to the school board on October 23, 2013, will move considerably more elementary students than the redistricting scenario presented last year.

On November 14, 2012, the administration presented a redistricting scenario that only moved 264 elementary students if Peebles Elementary remained open. The same presentation showed 500-600 elementary students would be moved if Peebles Elementary were to close.

nov14balanceslide

Now the administration is proposing two scenarios that would redistrict 400 or more elementary students, despite the fact Peebles Elementary will remain open.  The October 23, 2013 presentation does not account for the number of middle schools students who would be impacted.

10.23presentation

These inconsistencies illustrate the need for more transparency surrounding the redistricting process. The administration has not released maps, enrollment projections, or other details upon which these scenarios are based.

The administration’s October 23, 2013 redistricting presentation may be viewed here.

The candidates endorsed by SaveNASchools are running on a platform for more transparency and more community involvement in the board’s decision-making processes. Please visit www.movenaforward.com to learn more.

Note: It’s extremely important that NA residents are aware of the special election for a 2-year board seat. The redistricting plan will be voted on by the new school board and Kevin Mahler is a strong advocate for the community.

The recommendation to close an school in the North Allegheny School District relies on two assumptions:

1. Enrollment will decline overall

2. Class size guidelines (not maximums) will be 25 students for grades K-2 and 30 students for grades 3-5

The district’s ability to close a small elementary school is contingent on a decline in student enrollment, which relies on projections prepared by the administration, as well as those contained in the Phase 2 report.
The 5-year enrollment projections prepared by the administration have consistently understated actual enrollment for the past 13 years.

Enrollment Graph 1

Consider the following:
  • In November 1999, the 2004 enrollment was forecast at 7856;
    2004 actual was 8193 (+337) [11/24/99 Post Gazette]
  • In February 2006, the 2010 enrollment was forecast at 7814;
    2010 actual was 8126 (+312) [2/2/06 Post Gazette]
  • In October 2007, the 2012/13 enrollment was forecast at 7774;
    2012 actual is 8212 (+438) [10/7/07 Post Gazette]
  • In September 2008, the 2013/14 enrollment was forecast at 7835;
    at the November 24, 2012 board meeting it was revised to 8201 (+366)
    [9/24/08 school board minutes]
  • In September 2009, the 2014/15 enrollment was forecast at 7926;
    at November 24, 2012 board meeting it was revised to 8241 (+315)
    [ 9/23/09 school board minutes]
  • In September 2010, using the trend projection formulas that the District has implemented over the past decade, it was anticipated that enrollment will show a slight increase over the next five years. Enrollment in 2010 was 8126. [9/22/10 school board minutes]

This review of the 5-year forecasts in the years 1999, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 demonstrates that there is consistent evidence of the administration underestimating enrollment by an average of 353 students. Given this trend, it is reasonable to assume that 2018/2019 enrollment would be 8585 and not the projected 8101 students noted in the most recent 5-year forecast. If one-third of this increase is attributable to elementary school students, the district will exceed the target capacity of 3,720 students established by the administration.

The graph below breaks elementary enrollment out of the total enrollment forecast and compares actual to projected enrollment for 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Elementary Enrollment

The enrollment projections contained in the Phase 2 report are even lower than the forecasts prepared by the administration.
If it is acknowledged that the administration has consistently underestimated school enrollment since 1999, it is of considerable concern that the elementary enrollment forecasts set forth in the Phase 2 report are even lower than the administration’s elementary enrollment forecasts for the period 2014-2021.

For example, the Phase 2 report projected an elementary enrollment of 3278 students for 2015/2016; this was the number used in the administration’s October 24 presentation.  However, in the November 14 presentation, the administration provided its own forecast of 3401 students for 2015/2016.
Given that the school board minutes over the past 13 years reflect that the board has been concerned with the administration underestimating enrollment, it is of great concern that forecasts contained in the Phase 2 report fall even further below the administration’s projections for the years 2014-2021. If these forecasts are acceptable, it would appear that North Allegheny is preparing for a significant and unprecedented decline in its student population despite evidence of new housing starts and continued migration into the district.
————–

Letter to the Editor, Pittsburgh Tribune- Review, January17, 2013

Wrong NA fix

I am a father of four children who attend North Allegheny School District. We chose NA because of its reputation as providing a quality education.

I am a proponent of reducing costs within the district and originally supported the concept of closing an elementary school. I read the news story “Community group questions North Allegheny enrollment projections” (Dec. 6 and TribLIVE.com). Afterward, I read the Save NA Schools group‘s report mentioned in the story and realized that I made a mistake in trusting the district‘s administrators to make a sound decision.

First, closing a small elementary school (one of 12 total schools) in a district with a $127 million budget should save more like $5 million a year than $850,000 a year. Second, it is clear that at a minimum, the district should re-evaluate its data and analyze this plan again. Finally, what is really driving the deficit problem? Teachers‘ pensions.

The administration needs to address that problem with something other than cannibalizing schools, reassigning hundreds of students to different buildings and overcrowding classrooms for a pittance that will not solve the deficit problem.

Scott E. Russell

McCandless

Community group questions North Allegheny enrollment projections

“If an elementary school building is closed, current enrollment would account for 90 percent of the total available seats in the remaining buildings,” said Tara Fisher, 36, of McCandless, a member of Save NA Schools. “It limits the district’s ability to keep class sizes below district guidelines.”

The report concludes that the district has a history of underestimating enrollment and that an enrollment increase could end up costing the district more money in the long run if a school is closed. The report also concludes that the district cannot guarantee the same level of education if a school is closed.

http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/3081573-74/district-board-enrollment#axzz2EBM1tEFZ