Six white folks gave the 'green light' to spend $30-million for two inferior projects. Meanwhile, the crown jewel high school, Schenley (sorry Dice and CAPA), gets the boot.
The vote was six to three. Six white folks voted with the Superintendent, Mark Roosevelt. Three black board members voted no.
The meeting was fully of flaming goofiness. It is hard to describe how silly the statements were and how many lies were said.
Lame duck members of the board voted to change the course -- and they have no business putting these radical changes into place now.
For instance, Dan R, the guy who wouldn't shake my hand at the Columbus Day Parade, said that this was a hard decision. However, he needed to vote with his head, not his heart. So, he voted to shut down Schenley because of the costs. But Dan, you were voting with your wallet -- not your head. I wish you voted with your head as you'd have voted to keep the smart school in place. Dan R voted for tax reasons -- and he is moving out of the city.
To vote and say your priority is to be "fiscally prudent" -- fine. But, don't go ahead and give approval for spending of an additional $30-million. To be fiscally purdent is great. But, the vote with the majority isn't prudent at all. It is expensive. It is rushed. It is without documentation. It is without accountability. It is built upon hype that has not been proven. It is a lie.
Another board member talked about 'lies.' Ms. Theresa C hinted at the closing of South Vo Tech. That is an area that I've been talking about to anyone who listens. The lie that she wanted to expose is that South Vo Tech was closed so that the Pgh Public School district could get ahold the the property and sell it. She said that they can't sell South Vo Tech. South isn't selling. So, those that had said that it was closed to be turned for its real estate value are liars.
Well, that has never been my claim.
Furthermore, there are many who say that Schenley is being closed now so that it can be sold for profit.
But this reasoning makes no sense as it ties to the vote.
South Vo Tech is a big empty building in a booming (sorta) neighborhood. The building is owned by the Pgh Public Schools. It is a sink and can't be sold. It is like many of the other 20-or-so buildings throughout the city in various neighborhoods in various states of decay and with various levels of potential.
South Vo Tech has little or no value to the district as the marketplace is so depressed. The rehab of the historic structure is going to be costly for the next owners. Parking is scares, etc., etc.
However, South Vo Tech had GREAT VALUE as a school. The School District sent hundreds of kids out of the building to flunk out.
South Vo Tech isn't valuable as a real estate transaction and taxable income location. The value of South resides in the hundreds of kids that should graduate from that school each and every year with solid trade skills and a high school degree.
Jumping to tonight's decision to close Schenley -- the same holds true. Perhaps the historic, mega building in Oakland with brand new windows will not be sold -- just as South Vo Tech and the other dozen of prime buildings can't be sold. Cash for the property might not be driving the decision. So, don't abandon the building.
They voted to walk away from a classic educational institution that is in the heart of the educational center of the region -- with little hope of selling the building. More money goes out the window. More missed motivations. More lunacy.
The "lie" isn't in the value of the building as a re-sale property for the district. And, the "truth" isn't in the value of Schenley as it becomes vacated. The value in the building that we all know as Schenley High School is in its use as a school.
Thousands of families live in Pittsburgh because of Schenley High School. Closing of Schenley has become a 'lay-up' tonight. Hence, 30,000 people are now headed for the borders!
People will vote with their feet. The middle class of Pittsburgh is now much poorer.
This decision was called by one objecting board member as "borderline child abuse." I agree.
I will do all I can from this day forward to make sure that Patrick Dowd never wins another election in this city. Same too for Bill Isler, Theresa Colaizzi, Jean Fink, and Skip McCrea.
They worked since July 2006 on High School Reform. Theresa Colaizzi was sure to ask Mark Roosevelt when that effort began and when the group formed. They talked about the models and did the research. However, everything got chucked aside just weeks ago. That group didn't plan on closing Schenley this year. They had called for the opening of a new school, grades 6 to 12, for science and technology.
The new Science and Technology magnet school, for middle and high grades, should be opening next year -- and it should be put into WESTINGHOUSE High School. Recently, the Pgh Public Schools rebuild and invested tens of millions in Westinghouse. However, the student population and the programs offered there are light.
Rather than putting money into another program -- put the new programs into the places where the building is already available. There is a bunch of capacity at Westinghouse.
Furthermore, CAPA Rodgers, a city-wide magnet, presently resides in Homewood. That is near the under-utilized Westinghose HS. CAPA Rodgers works as a school. People send their kids to CAPA Rodgers, even in a tough neighborhood. Same too can be delivered and developed at Westinghouse with a Science and Technology program.
They want to take apart Frick Middle School and turn that into a 6-12 school. It is a middle school -- not a high school. Frick works.
They are wasting money.
They are wasting educational opportunities.
They are wasting past investments.
They are making haste and more waste.
They are yanking families around -- and the families will depart the city.
They are moving the specialized educational programs out of Homewood with the move away from CAPA Rodgers into downtown.
Meanwhile, the district is buying more building space in the downtown location on 9th Ave. within CAPA (Creative And Performing Arts High School). That's spending more money and putting 6th graders and/or school buses on downtown streets. Blueprints and plans were in place to move the middle school to The Hill. Now that plan is off. Those changes are costly too.
Let's see what the PG, Trib and the TV news reports look like.
This doesn't seem right. Moving the school next year as a whole unit into another building is what they seem to want to do now. That move would keep Schenley as a community for a few years as those in the school graduate with their classmates. Schenley, as we know it, is still dead.
It would be better, in my opinion, to close Schenley over the years and keep the kids in Schenley throughout the next years.
Plan calls for keeping Schenley open until current students graduate
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt tonight announced a change of plans for the district's high schools, saying he wants to keep Pittsburgh Schenley High School open until all of its current students have graduated.
He made the announcement at a school board meeting 24 hours after about 250 people, including dozens of students, rallied outside school district offices to demand the school remain open.
Mr. Roosevelt said he wants to move the school, intact, to the former Reizenstein Middle School building in Shadyside in the fall. He would close Schenley once all current Schenley students have graduated. Schenley won't accept any fresmen next school year; those students would be assigned to other schools.
Mr. Roosevelt said the Schenley building in Oakland must be closed because of maintenance problems. Last month, he proposed reassigning students to three other buildings as part of a broader plan for improving district high schools.
KDKA TV news:
kdka.com - School Board Votes To Approve Consultants For Schenley High School Closure Pittsburgh Public School board members voted to move forward with the initial step of the proposed closing of Schenley High School.
In a 6-3 vote, the board approved a measure that will hire engineers and architects for preliminary consulting work.
Board Votes To Hire Consultants For Schenley HS
KDKA - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Angry debate follows Pittsburgh school vote
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Opponents of the nearly $4 million in spending viewed the decision as the first step in closing Schenley High School in Oakland, because $450000 was ...
Chester's Robinson signs with PittsburghCaught in the Pittsburgh middle (school)?
Philadelphia Daily News - Philadelphia,PA,USA
He played a key role in helping Chester reach the PIAA Class AAAA state championship last spring, where it lost to Schenley, 78-71, despite 15 points from ...
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Superintendent Mark Roosevelt recently proposed closing Schenley High School, a traditional grade 9-12 school in Oakland, and shifting its students to ...