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North Allegheny School Board Approves Public Hearing on Proposed School Closing

The hearing is the first step in a legal process necessary before the board can make a final decision on closing Peebles Elementary.

In a meeting that lasted nearly five hours, the North Allegheny School board Wednesday night voted to schedule a public hearing on Jan. 30 on whether or not to close Peebles Elementary school.

Board members Ralph J. Pagone and Christopher M. Jacobs voted against the hearing.

More than 40 parents spoke against the proposal, and many of them asked again for the formation of a community task force to further study the issue. The board did not address that request.

However, school board member Beth Ludwig did indicate she would vote against the formation of 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."

The vote came on the same day Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri issued a letter to parents and community members outlining his reasoning’s for recommending the closure. You can read the entire letter here.

At the school board meeting on Nov. 28, Superintendent Dr. Raymond Gualtieri told the board that closing Peebles would save the district, which is facing a $8-million deficit , $850,000 a year. He also argued that enrollment continues to decline and excess capacity exists at the elementary level.

The group, Save NA Schools, has been spearheading the opposition. It argues that closing one of the district's seven elementary schools will have a negative impact on students, and the overall quality of education at the elementary level. You can read the group's mission statement here. 

What do you think? Should the North Allegheny School Board close Peebles Elementary. Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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