Posts Tagged ‘school board’

The efforts of the NA community two years ago to bring change to the NA School Board will continue to be undermined if Maureen Grosheider and Joe Greenberg are re-elected on May 19. 
 
We need your vote to elect new candidates in their place.
 
Maureen Grosheider has been on the Board for 2 decades.  To increase her chances for re-election, she is running for both a 2-year and 4-year term at the same time.  Under Grosheider’s leadership, the Board raised taxes 3 years in a row, operated classes above class size guidelines, and relied on inaccurate projections that led to the failed recommendation to close a school.    
 
Joe Greenberg has supported a tax increase every year since he joined the Board.  Like Grosheider, he voted against the elementary class size policy.  When 11 elementary classes started the 2012-13 school year above the class size guidelines, Greenberg stated that implementing a class size policy like other districts was unnecessary.

Please support the 6 candidates who are committed to moving NA forward: FILIAGGI-FINLEY-MAHLER-MEYER-DISQUE-BLACKBURN.

To view the ballot for tomorrow’s election, please click here or see below.

ballot

Since September of 2012, Save NA Schools has advocated redistricting in order to create more equity across all elementary schools and better utilization of “excess capacity” in some buildings.  Balancing enrollment is critical to reducing class size- which has been a central focus of this group.

On March 15, 2013, Save NA Schools stated that balancing enrollment would allow the district to

  1. keep class size within the district’s guidelines
  2. adequately administer elementary programs (music, ESAP, GOAL)
  3. reasonably accommodate future growth

Many members of the North Allegheny community, including parents from HES, IES, MCK, MES and PES,  spoke in support of the redistricting proposal for those reasons.  On Wednesday, February 19, the North Allegheny School Board voted 7-2 to balance enrollment across all of the district’s buildings– making the 16-month community campaign to “save class size” a success.

The redistricting plan incorporated the top two requests from the community:  1.) move the fewest number of students, and 2.) grandfather current 4th and 7th grade students.

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The North Allegheny School Board Wednesday approved redistricting students for the next school year. The plan moves fewer than 200 elementary students and allows for current fourth- and seventh-graders to stay in their current schools. It was introduced by the administration last month to take into account comments from residents about three previous plans

To read more, click here.

In a local election, every vote counts.  Please get out and vote today!

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Vote FISHERPAGONERUSSELL for a 4-year term on the NA SCHOOL BOARD.

Vote MAHLER for a 2-year term on the NA SCHOOL BOARD.

Do not to select the “straight party” voting option.  Instead, make individual candidate selections.

Thank you for your support!

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.

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click for ballot

SaveNASchools has endorsed four school board candidates running in the November 5th general election.  To read their bios and learn more about their platform, please go to www.movenaforward.com.

Election card2

The administration has recommended that the board take a vote on May 22nd regarding the closure of Peebles Elementary.

Based on the information presented at the March 20th board meeting, if class sizes are capped at 29 students for intermediate grades and 24 students for primary grades, the district will NOT have enough spare classrooms if Peebles is closed. This means the district will be wed to higher class sizes both now and in the future.

To read more, please click here.

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SaveNASchools has ordered yard signs that will be available this week for distribution. If you preordered a yard sign, you will be contacted this week with further details.  If you did not pre-order a yard sign, you can email savenaschools@gmail.com  to purchase one from the remaining stock.

yard sign pic

We are encouraging residents to do the following 3 things this week:

1) Email Rep. Mike Turzai and ask him to advocate on behalf of Peebles the same way he did for Bradford Woods. In the fall of 2011, when Bradford Woods was proposed for closure, Rep. Turzai met with school board members and told them he did not want Bradford Woods to close. We are requesting that you email Rep. Turzai at mturzai@pahousegop.com and ask him to tell the school board he is opposed to closing ANY elementary building in the district.

2) Send a letter to the school board by emailing school board secretary Rose Mary Ryan at rryan@northallegheny.org. If you spoke at the hearing, simply draft your comments into a letter and address it to the entire board.

3) Mark your calendar for Monday, February 25th. SaveNASchools will be holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 6-8pm at the Franklin Park Fire Hall. This event will be an opportunity for the community to get more information, discuss strategy, and order yard signs. Click here for the Spaghetti Dinner Flyer and here to purchase tickets.

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)

What are North Allegheny’s class size guidelines and how will things change under the new model?

North Allegheny has class size guidelines of 25 students for primary grades (K-2) and 30 students for intermediate grades (3-5). The administration has noted that class size guidelines are NOT maximums.

Guidelines vs. actuals

–Demographics and Feasibility Update- October 2012

The administration has demonstrated that it is willing to let class sizes go above 30 students by accepting 4th grade classes of 31 and 32 students at Hosack this year. Hosack also has two 3rd grade classes with 30 students each.

It’s important to note that other school districts, like Pine-Richland, treat 3rd grade as a primary grade (instead of an intermediate grade) and thus maintain smaller class sizes. The school board has acknowledged that 3rd grade is a formative year and that the district has tried to hold 3rd grade classes closer to 25 students/class like other primary grades.

Per the Nov 28, 2012 school board minutes:

11.28.12 quotes- final

–NASD Official School Board Minutes- November 28, 2012

However, under the new model, the “number of available seats” is calculated based on 30 students in every 3rd grade class.  At McKnight, every 3rd grade class would have had 29 students in it and several 3rd grade classes across the district would have been at 27+ students. In fact, if Peebles had closed this year, the average 3rd grade class would have been 26.8 students at North Allegheny.

As you can see from the chart, the average 3rd grade class size at Pine-Richland is 21 students, the average 3rd grade class size at Mt. Lebanon is 21 students, and the average 3rd grade class size at Hampton is 24 students.

Bottom line: If Peebles is closed, 3rd grade classes at North Allegheny would be 5-6 students higher than the average 3rd grade class size in other districts.

Class Size other schools AVG as of 1.31.13-page-001

In 2011, Bradford Woods was recommended for closure based on a projected decline in the district’s enrollment. The following statements were made by school board members in regards to the declining enrollment projections:

Source: August 17, 2011 School Board Minutes

“Mrs. Grosheider pointed out that 10 years ago, the projected enrollment for the District for last year was 7,187. In reality it was 8,126.”

“Mrs. Grosheider said it was a voluminous report and she would have appreciated an Executive Summary to help her pull the report together. She said that a 100% utilization rate at a middle school or a secondary school is more doable than at an elementary school because an elementary school tends to be neighborhood-oriented. She said if we are already at 100% capacity in an elementary school and a new family moves into the neighborhood, they would have to go to another elementary school, and that is not the way that we do business. She was informed that a number of new plans have just been approved in Franklin Park. We are getting about 80% of the school age children who live in North Allegheny; she would like a goal of getting 90% of those students and our challenge is to make sure that more of those children come to North Allegheny. She does not think that closing buildings is the best way to make that happen. Her personal goal is to ensure that the District has a great product and a great education to make it attractive to everyone in the District.”

Source: September 28, 2011 School Board Minutes

“Mr. Hubert noted that in the last five years, enrollment has increased by 2.2% overall; five years prior to that, it was down 3.4%, and for the next upcoming five years, it is projected down to 2.7%, and he challenges those numbers. He said with the economy being what it is, which is pushing people back to the public school system, and with the quality that NASD brings to the table, people migrate to North Allegheny. He does not believe that those numbers take these facts into consideration.”

“Mrs. Bishop said this past year, the live birth number was low and the downward trend started in 2000. However, she does not see a direct correlation between the birth data and class sizes. She thinks new housing plays a greater role in predicting what is going on than the live birth data.”

“The Board is very optimistic that, in light of the excellent education the District offers and the recent national recognition that both Wexford and McCandless have received for being outstanding suburbs that have excellent schools, people will continue to move into our District so that their children can enroll in our schools.”

“Mrs. Grosheider pointed out that for the six-year actual enrollments, the numbers have grown, but in the numbers that are projected, we go down. We need to be cognizant of that fact because we are looking at closing buildings and having empty seats. But our numbers are consistent overall and are actually growing. She reiterated the fact that we provide a very good education for the kids in this District and we need to sell that to the people.”

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Related posts:

Trib article: Community group questions North Allegheny enrollment projections

Letter to the Editor: Decline in student enrollment never materializes

SaveNASchools Community report