Share This Page

North Allegheny could close Peebles Elementary in cost-saving move

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 7:26 a.m.

The North Allegheny superintendent recommended to the school board Wednesday night that the district close one of its seven elementary schools — Peebles — in an effort to save money and said the board could take a final vote on the controversial issue by April.

Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri said the district could save $850,000 by closing the McCandless school and spreading those students to the remaining elementary schools. He said the district has excess capacity in the schools to handle the students and that class sizes would remain within district guidelines.

“Closing Peebles will not compromise the excellence of our programs,” Gualtieri told the board.

About 100 parents attended the meeting, which was moved to the Carson Middle School auditorium to accommodate the crowd.

Most of the parents were opposed to the closure, saying the small cost savings aren't worth it and would hurt property values.

“I don't think they've adequately looked at all of the schools' options for closure,” said Steve Bolibruck, 36, of McCandless, who has two children at Peebles. “There's a deficit of $10 million, and we're saving $850,000 by closing a school.”

“It's a whole lot of disruption for a minimal dent in our deficit,” said his wife, Shannon Bolibruck, 35.

Gualtieri has said the district is projected to face a $10 million budget deficit for the 2013-14 school year. He has said further cuts in spending will require altering or eliminating programs.

Tara Fisher, 36, of McCandless, part of the “Save NA Schools” group, passed out a 32-page report contesting the conclusions made by the administration. Fisher contends the school closure would push up class sizes and bring the district dangerously close to capacity in the remaining buildings.

“It's less than one percent of the district's budget,” Fisher said. “I'm saying it's not worth it. You're disrupting the entire elementary education model.”

Gualtieri said the board could hold the required public hearing for the school closure in January and vote in April.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or bkerlik@tribweb.com

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.