In addition to speaking at school board meetings, the group, Save NA Schools, has been using its web site to argue against the proposed closing of one of the district's seven elementary schools.
Now the school district is using its own web site to counter some of those arguments.
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.
On the North Allegheny web site, administrators make several other arguments to support the proposal:
- 15 years of study and experience have verified the district has excess capacity
- The School District can and will continue to deliver a high quality educational program in six elementary buildings.
- By closing Peebles, the District will become even more operationally efficient and fiscally responsible.
- When less money is spent on utilities, maintenance, and supplies and staffing - there is more money to invest in educational programs and services.
- A redistribution of students may even reduce class sizes of 30 or more by smoothing out enrollment patterns.
- The administration and its consultants have done an expert and exhaustive study of elementary facilities usage and projected enrollment trends.
The administration also addresses what it terms rumors and misconceptions related to a number of issues including:
- Why the administration ultimately chose Peebles when Bradford Woods was recommended in the Phase I report.
- Whether there will be enough classroom space if Peebles is closed.
- Whether or not the demographic forecasts are accurate.
- Whether the savings are sufficient to justify the decision.
- Whether the district has considered other cost-savings measures.
- Whether the district can continue to provide a quality education to all elementary students using six buildings instead of seven.
Dr. Gualtieri urged the Board and the community to consider his recommendations from the perspective of the whole District and the future of the community.
“The economics of our time leave us with fewer options,” he said. “We must continue to be the best we can be in every way – first and foremost for our children, but also for our residents. We must insist on excellence in educational programs and opportunities and find a way to sustain them through maximum operational efficiency. This is the motivation for my recommendations. I have confidence that this School District can deliver excellence within the framework of the model the Administration has defined.”
For more information on parent's efforts to form a community task force about the proposed school closing, click www.saveNAschools.com.
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