North Allegheny school directors will vote Feb. 19 on the administration’s fourth and final redistricting plan that would move fewer than 200 elementary students and allow current fourth- and seventh-grade students to stay where they are.
“We have a wonderful problem — everybody loves their current school,” said Robert Scherrer, assistant superintendent for K-12 education. “That is a credit to the administrators, teachers and staff members in each building.”
The plan, which was presented to the school board at its Jan. 15 work session, started with the scenario that moves the fewest students and tweaked it to take into account feedback from focus group meetings, emails and board meetings, Mr. Scherrer said.
The result is a plan that moves even fewer students — approximately 187 — “grandfathers” the current fourth- and seventh-graders and keeps several neighborhoods in their current buildings. Children from new residential developments would be moved to other attendance areas.
"I am very pleased and encouraged by what we've seen here," said board President Chris Jacobs. "Community feedback was incorporated into what we see here with an excellent result."
The elementary school plan:
• Allows the Franklintowne neighborhood to remain at Ingomar School. Franklintowne residents complained that their neighborhood was moved each time there was a redistricting, most recently in 2006.
• Allows the Spring Ridge neighborhood to remain at Franklin. Instead, the nearby La Place Point apartments will be moved to Bradford Woods. There are still two or three buildings to be constructed in that development, said Roger Botti, director of transportation and operations.
• Changes the attendance boundaries of Bradford Woods to include the Nicholson Road area and new developments. This was in response to Marshall Elementary parents who were afraid that moving too many children into their school would eventually overcrowd the building when the new developments are built.
• Keeps the Matterhorn and Forest Oaks areas at Marshall.
• Redraws the proposed attendance lines for Peebles and Hosack to keep more students in their current buildings.
• Divides the Hickory Hills and Blum Road areas of McCandless between Hosack and Peebles. Those students currently attend McKnight.
The detailed presentation, lists of streets being moved and enrollment projections through the 2018-19 school year.are posted at www.northallegheny.org.
On paper, the plan moves 187 elementary students, but that number may be lower, depending on how many students choose to stay put for fifth grade. Families would have to provide transportation to and from school for those students, and the “grandfathering” option would not be allowed for younger siblings.
A maximum of 82 students — also depending on grandfathering — would be moved from Ingomar Middle School, which is over capacity, to Carson and Marshall middle schools.
“I think it’s a strong scenario and I am very encouraged,” said Tara Fisher, board vice president. “It speaks volumes to the amount of work that went into this scenario.”
Because such a small number of students will be moving from each grade, board member Kevin Mahler asked if those students could be placed together in the same class. Mr. Scherrer said building principals will be part of the transition plan and can facilitate that.
Before the plan was presented, a seventh-grader at Ingomar asked board members and administrators to allow grandfathering.
“Middle school is a time of adjustment and fitting in,” said Ryan O’Neill. “By seventh grade, you are comfortable” with teachers, students and activities.
If they had to move for eighth grade, it would affect athletics, activities and would prohibit anyone from running for a student council office, he said.
“Please allow us to remain at our current building and move to [the intermediate high school] with our friends.”
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.