In September, North Allegheny School District parents attended school board meetings to express concern over a proposal to close Peebles Elementary. Board President Maureen Grosheider scolded residents, saying only a threat of school closure made parents pay attention.
The board was presented with 1,000-plus signatures asking for a task force to allow residents to help tackle the district's $10 million projected 2013-14 deficit prior to closing a school ($850,000 savings). Espe Elementary closed in 1999 — only after the district received input from a 36-member community group.
Parents delivered a 30-page analysis to the board outlining reasons against a school closure. Did Ms. Grosheider listen? During the presentation, she refused to open her copy of the report.
Now Grosheider and her hand-picked New York superintendent, Raymond Gualtieri, have a choice: Do they listen to the hundreds of parents attending meetings? Or does only their opinion matter?
In the face of community opposition, a comprehensive study and evidence of flawed data, Grosheider seems determined to close Peebles. Why? Maybe because her school in Bradford Woods is in need of renovation ($8 million to $14 million) and only a year ago was targeted for closure. It appears that a plan to save her own school by closing another is under way.
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