Sunday, April 04, 2010

Now is the Time to Submit Your Act 34 Comments on the High School Project

As a reminder to all Mt. Lebanon residents who want to make an official comment on the High School project, you have until noon tomorrow to submit your written comments under Act 34. According to the school district’s Act 34 web page, “Written testimony may be submitted to the Board Secretary prior to the hearing and up until noon on April 5, 2010 at or by sending it to the District Administration Offices, 7 Horsman Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15228. All comments will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.”

If you want your voice to be heard – and if there was ever a time to be heard, this is it – you must submit your comments now, and you must submit them by email or hand-delivered letter. It’s too late to use the postal service.

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Anonymous said...


Mt. Lebanon is an older, no-growth community, with a good school system and a declining enrollment. The district has ten school buildings, with an abundance of unused space and under-student capacity in all buildings. It’s time to reconfigure the space use in these buildings.

Due to low enrollment in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, both Jefferson and Mellon Middle Schools were vacant. Mellon was for sale and the 7th and 8th grades were in the high school. The Central Office was in Jefferson Middle School.

In 1996, a small increase in student enrollment facilitated opening Mellon Middle School for the 7th and 8th grade students. Group pressure was applied to also open Jefferson Middle School. To make both schools work with the right student capacity, the 6th grade was added to the 7th and 8th grades. Both Mellon and Jefferson were renovated. The Central Offices were moved to the high school.

It’s time to put the 6th grade back in the grade schools, close Jefferson Middle School, have one middle school (Mellon) for the 7th and 8th grades, and make it an academic academy.

Close and rent Hoover Grade School, move those students to Jefferson, and if more space is needed, expand into Jefferson Middle School.

Current plans of having the Central Offices of the superintendent, administration, finance, PR and union offices included in the high school project adds nothing to student learning, but adds millions to building costs and takes away needed space for our students.

With reconfiguration, the Central Office could easily move back to the closed, renovated Jefferson Middle Building.

Will spending $113 million on the high school project make our students any brighter, with over 90% of our students going on to higher learning? The answer is no. But, having a new rigorous curriculum for all our students would expand their learning. None of this consolidation of buildings would impede the student’s’ educational growth and learning.

Continued declining enrollment and the tax burden facing Mt. Lebanon, sooner or later the Board will have to downsize. Operating ten buildings is not fiscally sustainable.

Miss Klein, the Finance Director, once said that a building under utilized in student capacity was the most expensive building to operate and not cost efficient.

There should be a public open discussion for reconfiguration of all our space needs in our ten school buildings before we start designing the high school and spending $113 million on space we don’t need.

Calvin Lynch
53 Academy Avenue
Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228
412-561-7965 April 2, 2010

April 05, 2010 12:05 PM  

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