More correspondence going around:
PUBLIC HEARING STATEMENT (JANUARY 23, 2012):
Due to the history of unsuccessful merging of schools, I am demanding that any merge from this point on undergo ample planning which includes both community and board member participation. Planning must be complete before any merge takes place. Planning must include transition strategies of actions to get parents, faculty and students aware and comfortable with one another from both populations. Also, to ensure, as much as possible, that the receiving population is inviting and receptive to the feeder population. The safety and security configuration must also be included in planning so that the probability of incident is diminished. And finally, the configuration of programs must be greatly considered so that both programs are merged, by definition, giving our students the greatest number of options currently available including JROTC magnet, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Law Magnet, Science and Math Magnet, Early Head Start Child Care, College Prep, and a successful Athletic division.
I am also demanding a formal letter via postal mail, from superintendent Lane, in regards to the Perry/Oliver merger. This letter must state in explicit detail why it was decided to merge into the smaller building, opposed to the larger, more accommodating, accessible and fiscally sensible building. I am demanding that this information, as well as planning participation information be delivered via postal mail no later than January 30th, 2012. If my simple demands are not met by the Board and Superintendent Lane within the requested amount of time, I will continue to take action to ensure prosperity.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM SUPERINTENDENT LANE:
Dear Ms. Williams:
Thank you for coming to speak at the Board Public Hearing on January 23, 2012. I have to be clear with you that I respond to community members because it is the right thing to do, and an important part of my work; threats and deadlines are not necessary.
You questioned why the school would be located in the Perry facility rather than the Oliver facility. You are right; Oliver is bigger, and has more accessible athletic facilities. Oliver also has great spaces for two of our CTE programs. Perry as a building has a better set up for the spring musical and had work done inside just this year, it was painted and had new lighting installed. We had the community walk through both schools. Needless to say, the Oliver community wanted Oliver, the Perry community wanted Perry. I too went on a walk-through of both schools. I could see both sides of the issue, but had to make a call one way or the other.
Our practice has been to move to the school that showed greater academic success whenever possible. Perry is that school. After the two communities become one, there may be a day when they decide they demand to utilize the other facility, this may be years away. More space may be needed (a wonderful problem to have) or there may be other rationale for utilizing Oliver. I also am of the belief that a successful merger is the more important issue than which facility the school would be housed in.
We want to work with the community to facilitate a successful joining of two school cultures and students and welcome your support of that effort. Again, thank you for coming and participating and please know I appreciate your support of the students of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.