Monday, November 21, 2011

Feeder pattern changes

On another post Anonymous wrote:

School feeder changes create complications
Monday, November 21, 2011 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Read more:

Comment by Cate Reed:
"Ultimately, the two schools are a lot closer together than ideally we would like them to be. We can't move a building."


I wonder how many parents are aware of the changes; or will the realization dawn only when children are again switched to other schools.

Too late! The time to coalesce, to testify, to voice your opinions is now, today at the public hearing.

Read more:


Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh parents and community are spoken to and treated as if they were complete fools!

Cate Reed (PG article) says:
"Ultimately, the two schools are a lot closer together than ideally we would like them to be. We can't move a building."

When will this end? The arrogance? The dismissal of concern for STUDENTS? There are no jobs for administrators with students or are there?

Anonymous said...

Should say "There are no jobs for administrators WITHOUT students . . . OR are there?" Hmmmmm?

Anonymous said...

More than 100 concerned citizens testified for 3 minutes each at last night's PPS Public Hearing.

The majority were protesting "cuts" at Cofax and CAPA. Others were supporting or rejecting the the sale of The Alternative Education Center on the Northside to Light of Life Ministries OR the closing of Oliver and sending all students to Perry.

The Greenfield/Minadeo was another hot topic where parents were threatening to leave PPS and opt for charters or suburban schools.

One parent 'demanded' that her child be transferred from Brashear and cited explicit reasons. Another parent was rightly irate regarding her child's "denial" of education in situations at University Prep.

City school board members urged to reconsider planned changes
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
By Taryn Luna, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dozens speak against Pittsburgh schools cuts
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Questioner said...

In past years the budget was voted on in December; this year there is a November vote and the process seems rushed. Could the arrival of a new board member in December have anything to do with the change in timing?

Questioner said...

So 700 children at Colfax and PPS can afford a librarian only one day a week... It would be interesting to have a pie chart showing on a per-child per-school basis how money is being spent.

For example, if PPS spends 15k per student- a pie chart for a Colfax student showing how much of that money goes to the principal (principal's salary divided by 700); how much for supplies (total supplies divided by 700); how much to central administration and of that, how much is for marketing and communications, etc.

Anonymous said...

Well, even more than a breakdown within the school, I'd rather see how much per child is stuck at Bellefield and never gets near to benefiting a child directly.

Questioner said...

That would be the idea of the pie chart- it would show how much of the total amount per child is spent w/in the school, and on what, and how much is spent on administration (Bellefield), and on what.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the administration would be happy to make each principal spend hours doing this for his/her school. But I can't imagine them doing it on themselves and actually putting the information out there! They'd be much too busy to do that sort of thing, I'm sure. :-p

Angry Taxpayer said...

Look at the agenda review package - there are three new Communications & Marketing contracts!!!

Anonymous said...

Miller School in the Hill did away with the librarian completely this year. Miller is a K-5 elementary school.

ditzyparent said...

Anon 3:18, your concern has an answer. When A+ did its last budget reporting it seemed like the report was spinning librarians and parent engegement. You know, saying that since librarians will essentially being moving from one building to another during a week every school now has a library program. Nevermind that the program is bare bones. And PE, well, every building will now have a Parent Engagement person, a teacher devoting 44 minutes a day to tasks. These are positions that the deep pockets should be funding when tax revenue is not enough, not scores of people to think deeply about how teachers can improve their practice.

Bulldog Forever said...

Another great legal opinion from PPS Solicitor Ira Weiss ("Trib matches $1,000 settlement in lawsuit against Highland School District", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11/22/11):

"A lawsuit against Highlands School District won by the Valley News Dispatch has ended with a $1,000 settlement, which the newspaper's parent company has matched and donated to a local food bank....

"In this case, winning was never about a financial gain; it was about getting information for the public," said Ralph Martin, president and CEO of Trib Total Media.

Martin said once the case was decided by the courts, the Valley News Dispatch and Trib Total Media wanted to "extract some nominal payment" from the district to acknowledge that the board's action was not correct under the law.

"We asked for $1,000, which we agreed to donate to a local charity," Martin said. "We decided to match the $1,000 and donate $2,000 to the local food bank.

"The public's interest was served and a good cause was the beneficiary," he said.

The school district approved the settlement on Monday, although it was at no cost to the district.

Solicitor Ira Weiss, whose opinion the school board used in holding the executive session, paid for appeals costs for that reason and the $1,000 settlement.

"It's good that it's over and we can all move on," Weiss said Monday.

The lawsuit resulted from a board meeting on June 8, 2009, at which time directors went into a closed-door executive session, excluding the public and a Valley News Dispatch reporter.

That meeting involved the board and representatives of the Heights Plaza Shopping Center, one of the district's largest taxpayers, to discuss a pending tax assessment appeal by the shopping center's owners.

An objection was raised by the reporter as well as at least two board members, Judy Wisner and Karen Wantland, to closing the meeting.

Weiss' opinion was that the subject of the meeting involved a matter of potential litigation, which is an open meetings exception under the Sunshine Law, and the executive session took place.

The Valley News Dispatch and Trib Total Media, filed suit soon after....

Commonwealth Judge Patricia A. McCullough wrote in the decision, that the private meeting with Heights Plaza Shopping Center representatives "has the odor of favoritism that the Sunshine Act does not tolerate."

The opinion essentially said citizens have the right to know when the board and other public entities meet and the right to attend those meetings.

"This clear and specific right is not diminished by general policies and trends favoring negotiation, settlement and alternative dispute resolution," McCullough wrote.

In July, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to hear Highlands' appeal of the Commonwealth Court ruling.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 12:52pm. I think there must be jobs for administrators even without students...our district is losing kids steadily and bellefield is getting bigger year after year. WHERE is our BOARD?

Anonymous said...

The only logical choice for this superintendent was to cut administrative positions. I invite anyone who is unaware of the bloat to just read one month's worth of board minutes to get a feel for how out of control this administration is.

You're cutting teachers, but keeping central administrators?

Since she had no stomach to make such cuts, the next logical step was to have a tax increase. The ONLY logical step.
Comparatively speaking, Pittsburgh residents pay far, far less in school taxes than most suburbanites do, but alas, we are not talking about an individual of character here.

After all, the PG continues to applaud her, and the fallout from a tax increase? Even PPS wouldn't be able to spin that.

What you have in PPS is a district led by self-serving cowards who, even worse, are ideologues.

Scary to think that kids are being sent to "learn" in this environment.

Anonymous said...

*Comparatively speaking, Pittsburgh residents pay far, far less in school taxes than most suburbanites do, but alas, we are not talking about an individual of character here.*

What is the basis for this statement? I'd love to see some numbers -- is this information compiled anywhere? Sounds like something that either the newspapers or some local think tank/good government group should do.

Questioner said...

Per wpxi the budget vote is in December not November.

Grizzled Veteran said...

You want to see some numbers???Are you joking??? Try living out in Shaler, the NA school district, or in Pine, then talk to me about seeing numbers. I don't even have kids going to schools out here and I am paying a fabulous chunk to the district.
Your "taxes" are the tip of the iceberg.
At the end of the day, some courage needed to go into these kinds of decisions. You're not going to get that from Jean Fink or Teresa Colaizzi, two people who simply rubber stamp everything.
The simple truth is that good things cost money. The gutlessness of Linda Lane is appalling in this regard. She keeps a huge administrative staff, cuts teachers, talks about "tough choices", yadda, yadda, yadda, and then gets acclaim from the PG for not raising taxes.

Pure insanity.

The PG believes that inconveniencing kids and putting them in harm's way as we saw at Westinghouse and will see at Perry is fine, as long as it doesn't entail a few more dollars.


The editorial board at the PG is much like the school board: a group of people with priorities severely out of whack.

The gutlessness in this entire saga is mind numbing. Isn't there ONE person with vision?

Anonymous said...

Don't repost if the other one came through!

*You want to see some numbers???Are you joking??? Try living out in Shaler, the NA school district, or in Pine, then talk to me about seeing numbers. I don't even have kids going to schools out here and I am paying a fabulous chunk to the district.*

Two things:

1) Of course you pay taxes even if you don't have kids in school! Welcome to the social compact, the belief that education is important to us all. As a teacher, you should know that!

2) I've always been told we're idiots for living in the city, taxwise. You're the first person I've heard tell me otherwise. Hence the call for numbers. Just telling me you pay a lot does nothing -- the millage and the property values are what count.

Here in the city, my county property tax bill is dwarfed by my city and school property tax bill (let's see using this year's numbers, my county tax bill is just under 16% of my total property taxes.

In the city, though we also pay a wage tax of which 2/3rds goes to the schools. That's one way that seniors are exempted, if they don't have wage income.

So, yes, numbers please! Do you pay a tax on your wages in your locale as well?

Anonymous said...

Lots of problems posting on this thread -- so here goes again.

Using these pages (and the links to the local municipalities to find the earned income tax rates):

Pittsburgh total property taxes: 24.72 mills

Shaler: 28.68 mills

Pine: 23.1084 mills

Richland: 24.6584 mills

Doesn't look like the Pine-Richlanders have anything to complain about!

I will say that out of the millages, the city in Pittsburgh takes a bigger chunk and the schools less compared to these others.

However, Pittsburgh also adds 2% earned income tax for schools to the 1% city earned iincome tax.

So -- let's use a 100,000 home and 60,000 in wages and find local taxes in each area (not including county taxes since we all pay the same):

Pittsburgh $4272
Shaler: $3468
Pine: $2911
Richland: $3066

Golly. Looks like there is no bargain for city dwellers.

What if you're richer? 300,000 assessed value home and 150,000 in wages:

Pittsburgh: 11,916
Shaler: $10,104
Pine: $8433
Richland: $8898

Cry me a river, suburbanites!

Anonymous said...

Two clarifications (rewriting comments from memory makes them less clear!):

1) These are the pages with the info:

2) The totals were figured at the above millages and then 1% of the wage was added in for Shaler, Pine and Richland, and 3% in wage tax added for Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Combine Greenfield & Minadeo and the population adds up to 4 kids more than capacity for Minadeo. The district would save money if they would combine schools and reassign a small nearby neighborhood 25-30 kids) to Mifflin,Faison, Colfax, or Weil for example to keep the numbers under capacity. Greenfield gets one of the few neighborhood left in the district. Go figure, it is where Colaizzi lives!

Sad thing is Minadeo parents are falling for district BS.

Anonymous said...

Forgot hyperlink.

Old Timer said...

Anon at 10:30, interesting numbers. Please explain where you got them from and what your context is. I lived within city limits for ten years before moving out north to a town not listed in your rendering. As a city dweller, I never paid the amounts you write of. As a suburbanite, I paid substantially more.
That said, I think the original point is pretty accurate. You'll never hear about anyone complaining about Steeler tickets going up. You barely hear about people re-arranging their transportation schedules to so as to hedge rising gas prices.
But something that's necessary for the common good--a tax increase to pay for schools---will bring everyone out in force.
Great country we live in. Priorities sure are in line. Don't tax millionaires, and leave us enough money for booze and other "diversions."

Incidentally, I'm a teacher too, and one who has no problem paying his taxes even though his kids are grown and long out of the house and school. Crying? Not for you or anyone else.

I'm a little tired of people crying poor, whether its superintendents or taxpayers, when it's pretty obvious there really IS money available.