Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fwd: Schenley/ Call to action

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Concerned Citizens" <>
Date: Feb 22, 2013 3:45 PM
Subject: Schenley/ Call to action
To: <>


It is not over- really! But an affirmation of continued support for Schenley as a school is key.

We need 100 people to come to Monday's public hearing beginning at 6:00 pm at the Board of Education Building on Bellefield (near Forbes Avenue). Wear black and red and support those speaking in favor of Schenley as a school and/ or speak yourself (call (412) 622-3868 before Monday at 12:00 to sign up). Do not leave it to others- it's now or never. Email to to let us know you will be there.

If you would like to speak, points to cover may include:

It is easy to say not to spend money on a building, but other city HS buildings have windows and do not require middle and HS students to share one set of athletic facilities.
Board members representing the relevant area of the East End support this facility.

An actual cost/benefit analysis is needed
Cutting air conditioning and the extra electrical capacity it requires would cut many millions of dollars from the estimate and reduce energy consumption. Other nonessential items may also be cut. East End families need the opportunity to offer input and prioritize.
How much will it cost to make comparable like new renovations at Peabody- all new systems, all new doors, all new finishes, acoustic tiles, etc. especially given the "building within a building" structure that was created when Peabody was bricked over; what is the cost of adding windows?
What is the cost of providing equitable athletic facilities to Hill students?
To what extent has the loss of Schenley increased charter enrollment, and what is the yearly cost of charter tuition for students who would have otherwise chosen Schenley?
What are the benefits to the city and the district of the educational offerings by some of the bidders (there were no educators on the sales agent's panel, limiting the usefulness of its recommendation).
Logic- it makes no sense that conversion to a totally different use would cost half as much as keeping the building a school. A requirement to use separate contractors might add a few percentage points to the cost of the project, maybe even 5%, but not 80%+.
How has the closing of Schenley affected achievement of students in affected neighborhoods?

Strong schools/ strong city
The school building is the first thing a family considering PPS or a transfer to Pittsburgh sees; if they don't like what they see their inquiry may stop right there. The building is a visible sign of a city's commitment to its schools. We need options that will attract families.
Schenley was the only high school with 100% enrollment and has a proven ability to attract students.

Upcoming changes in the Board
Many Board members do not plan to return. The next board is the one that will have to deal with the consequences of this decision so why not leave it to them. For example, where would students go while Peabody is renovated?
With building closed almost 5 years, what is the rush to sell now rather than waiting for input of new Board members in a matter of months?

The building is not well suited for housing
There is a very real concern it will be used as student housing, which is not a good fit for the neighborhood.
Due to large hallways and common spaces the building is not a strong candidate for residential use.
From an environmental point of view the existing use is best.


This message is from Concerned Citizens who started the petition "Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors: Investigate if important information about Schenley was withheld at the time of closing ," which you signed on

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