Good Afternoon Mr. Roosevelt and Members of the Board -
Two weeks ago I came before you to let you know that I support the Right-Sizing Plan for the Pittsburgh Public Schools. I still do. Although as Mr. Roosevelt said in the media "it needs some tweaking." With that in mind, I'd like to bring the following issue to your attention.
The current plan has the Rogers CAPA program moving to the Baxter building, and the Letsche Education Center moving to the Washington building. Initially seems like a good idea, but on closer examination there are some problems. This would necessitate the moving of two student populations, over 500 students, and the capital improvement of two buildings.
This move seems to give the Rogers CAPA program room to expand, but I believe it does not. The numbers I found for the 2002-3 school year, the final year the CAPA High program was in Baxter, showed an enrollment of 330 students, about 45% of the building's capacity. However, an article in the June 12, 2003 Tribune Review quotes a CAPA student, Jessica Burch, as saying "...she will miss taking singing lessons in a janitor's closet" and "Our Spanish room is also the dance studio...we have to move the desks out...every day." This does not indicate a building with excess capacity; it indicates a building bursting at the seams.
Some of the parents and faculty of Rogers would like to propose the following alternative: Instead of moving both the Rogers CAPA program and the Alternative Education program, leave the Alternative Education program where it is, and move the Rogers CAPA program to the Prospect building in Mt. Washington.
We have gathered the data to show how this new proposal would be better for the CAPA program and the district as a whole. I have prepared a chart based on the 10 criteria you used for the original proposal that compares the two moves. In all cases, the move to Prospect is equal to or better than the move to Baxter.
I will provide you all with copies of the chart, but let me mention the highlights: only the 300 students at Rogers would need to be moved, only one building would need capital improvements. The central location of Prospect near downtown would reduce transportation costs and increase ties to organizations in the Cultural District. The location of Baxter in the far east end would have the opposite effect.
I think that if you look at the data, you will see that this proposal deserves careful consideration. Thank you for your time.
Henry C. Schmitt
Students that go to Rogers might one day work for Disney.
Next, to figure out how to put the plan, a table, on this blog. Humm... Okay, I've got 10 points in the comments section of this blog posting. Each shows the baseline reason, what the present plan has for its strength, then in bold, the new idea's reasoning / strength. Keep reading.
Plus, I've inserted two bonus points after the first 10 to cover some extras I just pulled out of the sky.
November 29, 2005
Mr. Roosevelt & Members of the Board:
As you are aware, both my husband and I are very active in our children’s education and are willing to work to make it the best it can be. We are also strong supporters of public education. We also, like you, believe on making our decisions based on data. Although we first thought moving Rogers to Baxter was a good idea, after reviewing the data, it now seems clear that such a move would be detrimental to the CAPA middle school program, and have a negative impact on the district as a whole. Much of the data we looked at was readily available on the PPS web site, but information about the Baxter building was hard to come by. We received information about Baxter from the Parent-Teacher organizations at Rogers. Working within your proposed plan, the Parent-Teacher group raised an alternative location – the Prospect building.
To better understand the merits of both plans, we looked to the criteria for right-sizing as listed on the PPS website, gathered what data we could, and compared each plan to the criteria. The following table clearly shows why we now believe moving to Baxter is not in the best interest of the CAPA program or district, as well as why Prospect should be considered as a viable alternative.
We look forward to working with you to bring about positive change to the Pittsburgh Public Schools
Parents of students at Minadeo and Rogers CAPA