Plum School Board considers changing open-house policy

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Open-house night at Oblock Junior High is a big deal.

“A lot goes on,” PTA President Michele Gallagher said. “You have clubs there — yearbook and newspaper — setting up in the cafeteria, the PTA is there, and there is spirit wear for sale.”

The event brings about 800 parents and community members and their vehicles to the school, located off Presque Isle Drive, according to Principal Joe Fishell.

This year's open house is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 19.

Plum School Board member Shane McMasters is worried the lack of a parking area at the former Adlai Stevenson Elementary that is in the same complex as Oblock, could make the parking situation difficult.

McMasters, who spoke about the issue during last week's school board meeting, proposes conducting the open house over two nights — one for seventh grade and another for eighth.

The Adlai Stevenson building was demolished to make way for the new Holiday Park Elementary that is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2014. There is no parking at the construction site.

The Plum School Board education committee was expected to discuss the proposal during its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. McMasters said the concept needs to be presented to the unions representing Plum teachers and custodians because of the extra time and school usage.

Gallagher said if the open house is split into two nights, some teachers who have both seventh- and eighth-graders would need to be at both.

Also, two open-house sessions would mean an early dismissal for students on two days. Students are dismissed at 1 p.m. the day of open house.

Fishell said late last week he is proceeding with plans for a single open house Sept. 19. He is encouraging those who plan to attend to consider carpooling or parking vehicles at Our Lady of Joy Catholic Church on Oblock Road and taking a district-provided shuttle to the junior high. The shuttle service is set to begin at 6:15 p.m.

“If every family shared a ride, parking would be cut down by 50 percent,” Fishell writes in the letter that is posted on the district's website:

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

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