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North Allegheny Superintendent Defends School Closing Recommendation on District Web Site

In the release, Dr. Raymond D. Gualtieri answers some of the frequently asked questions about the decision.

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.”

You can read more of the administration’s statement here .

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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Kris Milillo December 07, 2012 at 12:34 PM
If all of the schools have excess capacity, why is my child in a class of 31 in 4th grade? His academic experience has been diminished and they are also talking of moving the kids to different schools. At this point, very disappointed we chose the NA district when we relocated to the area.
bob haller December 07, 2012 at 02:18 PM
It wasnt that many years ago the superindent of the time recommended the intermetiate school on cumberland road be closed and sold. He moved on after that proposal was soundly defeated. neighborhood schools add much to the community and should be reatined whenever possible. plus peebles was rebuilt not that many years ago. Kind of sad to see it sit vacant or sold, after spending al that money on improvements..
a worker December 07, 2012 at 03:45 PM
It sounds like the same thing happened at Utica Community Schools. The superintendent and the Board of Education decided to cut everywhere except in their own pockets. Go ahead and ask them have any of them taken any kind of pay cuts before deciding to close schools. NO... Have any of them taken a pay cut before getting rid of their support staff?... NO. Here at Utica Community Schools Board of Education meeting the following words were actually said...We have all taken pay cuts because we haven't had a raise in several years
a worker December 07, 2012 at 03:49 PM
As I've stated in the past if you're not happy with your Board of Education's decisions. Or you're not happy with the decisions the superintendent of your school's made... it's time for a change... it's time for a recall. (As for me???) I'm doing well.
Jo Paytas December 07, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I agree with Kris on the disappointment part. We specifically chose the location of our home because of Peebles and all the good things we had heard about it. Previously, my son attended a larger elementary school and although we loved his teachers, the school was just too large for him and we could see he was struggling in a large school environment. So when it came time to move we looked into the Peebles area. Now 4.5 years later and a daughter attending Peebles, it was all for nothing. All our children are going to be short changed when the class sizes increase. You can't do the planned changes and still expect the quality education they receive from smaller class sizes. I recommend folks read the report the parents committee provided to the board and join the "savenaschools" facebook and websites. Things are not adding up with what the board has presented. Closure is not a done deal, it hasn't been voted on. We need to save our NA schools. The ripple effect from a closure is expansive...not only the loss of a quality education and stress on our children, but the potential for a drop in home values, decline in home sales, redistricting - not just at the elementary levels, this will effect middle schools too and tax increases will occur regardless since the closure of Peebles is a small savings overall.
bob haller December 08, 2012 at 03:13 AM
A few years ago in the YOUGH school district near ppittsburgh the board closed west newton elementary, a small community school. the outraged residents ran new people who pledged to reopen west newton. The new people won, the old board members were defeated and that school is still in operation today......

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