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North Allegheny parents lobby to keep Peebles school open

More than 80 North Allegheny elementary school parents showed up at a school board meeting last week to show their opposition to a recommendation to close Peebles Elementary School in McCandless, one of seven grade schools in the district.

Several parents spoke to board members Sept. 12 and said closing the school would have a negative impact on property values and drive up class sizes in other schools.

“I would like to see it stay open. We're shocked because a year ago we were told that a closure was not something that was imminent,” said Robin McDermot, 44, of McCandless, who has a child in Peebles but doesn't think a tax increase is necessary to keep the school open.

“A tax increase is the easy way out. Anyone can say that.”

Laurie Steele, 39, of McCandless said her fourth-grader already has 32 children in his class at Hosack Elementary School in McCandless.

“I absolutely don't want Peebles to close,” Steele said. “That will make class sizes even larger.”

The recommendation to close Peebles came last month at a board meeting from a consulting firm that examined potential cost savings for the district.

Board members stressed that no decisions have been made and the recommendation was one of several options, including redistricting the boundaries of the elementary schools.

Three board members criticized Harrisburg legislators for failing to properly fund public education and address problems such as teachers' pensions.

“I certainly don't want to see schools close, but you need to see the bigger picture,” board member Linda Bishop said.

“This is not just about closing Peebles. It's a larger funding issue that all public schools are facing in Pennsylvania.”

Parents asked that a task force be formed consisting of community members, teachers, parents and financial specialists to examine all options involving the school.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or [email protected].


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