Good evening everyone. My name is Nick Lardas. I am a resident of Oakland and am here to speak again as a concerned parent, taxpayer and voter.
I am here today to ask you for two things:
1) Stop the current High School Reform Plans now and take the time to plan fully for meaningful improvement not change for the sake of change.
2) Leave the current programs and students that are in Schenley HS in Schenley HS and make phased plans for improvements to the building and the programs.
Over the past year I have made a good attempt to keep up with the plans for High School Reform and Schenley HS. And the only thing I know for sure is that I am totally confused. Each day there are new rumors as to what the renovations of different buildings will cost where programs will be moved and then possibly moved again, what programs will be dropped what will be added, the district is in even worse financial condition than previously thought, taxes will have to be raised and on and on. The latest rumor is that Mr. Roosevelt is abandoning us and interviewing for jobs.
The end result is that parents are voting with their feet and leaving the district. Your latest projections show enrollment for September down over 10% from last year.
The excuse often given that the sudden deterioration of Schenley HS forced the district to begin implementing their incomplete reform plans is false. If Schenley were unsafe the students should not have been let back into the building for the 2007-08 school year. Your own documents and a tour of Schenley show that there is no imminent danger. Classes can continue in the building this year and next year and the year after while thoughtful planning takes place. The last time I testified before this group I offered to meet with you to tour Schenley and review your Architect’s reports with you. No one took me up on my offer so I am making it again.
The current confusing HS reform plans call for scrapping the second best middle school and third best high school in the city and tearing them apart to create two maybe three new themed 6-12 high schools. There has been no statistical information nor any educational theory presented that either the 6-12 concept or the themed high school concept have any merit. There have been no cost benefit studies done to show that these concepts and the massive facilities changes they entail will financially or educationally benefit the district and our students. There are no plans for the high schools and middle schools that are totally failing in our district. None of this makes sense from a fiscal or educational point of view.
Stop the current reform plans keep Schenley and its students intact. Take the time to work with the parents, teachers and students. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Look at what is working at the private and suburban schools that are taking our students. Then come up with a comprehensive plan for the entire school district and begin to implement it slowly and methodically.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Nicholas D. Lardas
3434 Parkview Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 1-412-(NUKED by BLOGMASTER)
Email: (NUKED by Blogmaster too)