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New School Plan Underway in ASD

L.R. Kimball K-12 Market Segment Leader John Hummel answered questions from concerned parents and taxpayers during a nearly-30 minute question-and-answer session last night.

Armstrong School District Board President Joseph Close reviews projected cost savings to the District if they were to follow the new plan, which calls for the District to spend more than $55 million for a new high school while closing Kittanning Jr. High, Kittanning Sr. High and Ford City Jr. - Sr. High, at minimum.

by Jonathan Weaver

Only one option on the Armstrong School District’s ‘white canvas’ remains, and Board members are circling it multiple times.

By a 7-1 vote, school board directors instructed L.R. Kimball architects to continue plans that would eventually close Kittanning Junior High, Kittanning Senior High and Ford City Jr. – Sr. High and build a new 7-12th grade school.

The school is expected to be open for the 2015-16 school year.

Concerned parents who had questions about the plan watched from the conference room and hallway television monitors. Those concerns were addressed by architects in a nearly-30 minute question-and-answer session before the action was approved.  

L.R. Kimball K-12 Market Segment Leader John Hummel said all questions could not be answered right away.

“At this point, we’re very preliminary in the process. The Board will be expected to review and approve more detailed plans for the building at various stages as we move forward,” Hummel said. “Each time you’ll be getting more accurate and detailed information.”

Hummel did say that the new school will be as safe as can be.

“We can’t fight Mother Nature any more than we can fight the price of gas, but we know what state-of-the-art is in terms of compliance and safety. We don’t want to put up a cheap building; we want to put up a building that is almost as permanent as you have gotten a lot of service out of for a century, Hummel said, referring to Ford City Jr. – Sr. High which was built in 1909.

“The intention is to design a high-performance building, a sustainable building,” Hummel continued.

The estimated-$55.6 million school building will be designed to teach a maximum-1,775 students, which was calculated based on current building enrollment, more than 80 secondary students from Kittanning Township and 25 from Rayburn Township.

That cost estimate did not include athletic facilities or land acquisition cost, but Board President Joseph Close reminded attendees that two sites have been offered to the school district at no cost. He said that might help generate more savings to the District.

“Certainly the cost was considered when these options were being reviewed. The operating cost savings was a huge factor,” Close said.

Close estimated a staff savings of $16 million during the next five years and was optimistic there would be energy and maintenance savings as well.

Board Director D. Royce Smeltzer was more concerned with student opportunity and voted ‘no’ on the resolution in large part due to the new school not including all of the Elderton attendance area.

“We have the opportunity to fix the problem that’s been in our district forever. Everyone sitting here is dropping the ball,” Smeltzer said. “I’ll be voting ‘no’ on the resolution.”

Last week, Smeltzer requested preliminary approval from Board members to allow Borough officials in Plumcreek Township, South Bend Township and Elderton Borough to explore different school district options and possibly secede from the Armstrong School District.

A formal motion for that request did not have to be made, according to Solicitor John Smart of Andrews and Price, LLC in Pittsburgh. He said those or other municipalities are always able to explore the possibility if there is community support.

A community meeting at the Towne Hall in Elderton is scheduled for March 21 at 6PM to gather further input.

School Superintendent Stan Chapp repeated that students from the Elderton attendance area or any that would currently attend West Shamokin High would be eligible to transfer to the new school. But not all of them.

“If there were more dollars there, it could’ve been bigger. We want to offer as much opportunity for people to transfer, based on how much money is there,” Chapp said.

Other local residents were also concerned and did not agree with the resolution, including Adam Grafton of Shelocta and Manorville Mayor Todd Gladysiewski.

Grafton said he expected more from the Board directors to brainstorm a method that would treat all students in all municipalities equally.

“The clean whiteboard of ideas to be considered was a charade to lead residents to think that the Board was going to proceed with the best plan available when in-fact the decision to build the new high school had already been made,” Grafton said.

Mayor Todd Gladysiewski of 402 Water Street in Manorville recalled architects referred to Ford City Jr. – Sr. High as a ‘fortress’ and ‘stable’ – even being used as a bomb shelter in World War II – but were not recommending closure. He disagreed.

“I think we’re making a very-bad mistake. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our schools,” Gladysiewski said. “I personally wouldn’t tear down my house to build a new house if I just had to fix it up a little bit. I hope you guys reconsider.”

He said the news of more job cuts made this year and a low per-capita income County-wide also support his opinion.

Following the meeting, Hummel said he expected the detailed questions from local parents.

“For a high school project – really any project – there are always people that have questions. Generally, the questions are more detail than answers that can be provided at this point, but each time we come back we’ll have more-and-more detail,” Hummel said. “It’s good they have selected an option we can concentrate on – the next big decision will probably be on which site.”

Hummel said the site location will allow architects to be more-detailed in drawings.

L.R. Kimball architects will be back in the area in two weeks when they present the plan to concerned parents during a public meeting March 26 at Lenape Elementary. Board directors will hear input on possibly closing Elderton K-12 and/or Kittanning Township Elementary at that time.

The public meeting is slated to begin at 7PM.

Board members heard from many concerned parents and taxpayers during their regular monthly meeting last night and will likely hear from them again during a public hearing March 26 about the possibility of closing Elderton K-12 and/or Kittanning Township Elementary before the beginning of next school year.

  • By Frog, March 13, 2012 @ 9:22 AM

    I read this here and at in the Leader Times. I can’t help but wonder how many of the people who voiced opposition to the new school are renters and don’t pay any taxes in this district. I’m sorry, but I think community schools are best, I miss ours. But, the times have changed. I know right now isn’t the best time to be doing this, but something needs to be done with the bond money, whether people like it or not, and it is not this boards fault that we are stuck with it. I’ve noticed alot of people who post here seem to forget that.

  • By cartman, March 13, 2012 @ 9:47 AM

    This actually sounds pretty good. However, the board should consolidate now, not wait until the new school is ready. Demolish unused buildings right away. Remember that any plans must be Solak proofed in order to have any hope of success.

  • By Jeepn2k7, March 13, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

    Didnt they try school consolidation before? How did it work out? I hope they have plans for the vacant buildings. I cant wait until the project is over budget (which it will be) and will require a tax increase. Thanks.

  • By asdgrad, March 13, 2012 @ 11:58 AM

    What about in the mean time? Until the school is opened? Why not consolidate Kittanning and Ford City, at the same time you close Elderton?

    I would like to see the total building capacity for Kittanning High School and Junior High and the CURRENT Enrollment for Both schools plus Ford City, but broken down into 7-8 9- 12, like Kittanning, and if it is possible to separate Ford City and consolidate them into the two Kittanning Schools for the time being until the new school is ready to open, why not do it?

  • By dawgfood, March 13, 2012 @ 12:50 PM

    No cost land? There is no such thing. Someone will make out big time behind the scenes. And it won’t be the taxpayer.

    I’ve always been curious on the educational background of the school board members. How about posting that info on the ASD webpage?

  • By Lancret, March 13, 2012 @ 7:20 PM

    “That cost estimate did not include athletic facilities or land acquisition cost, but Board President Joseph Close reminded attendees that two sites have been offered to the school district at no cost. He said that might help generate more savings to the District.”

    What does this mean?

    What about the such things as sewage, water and roads? If we want to save money on these things, shouldn’t they be looking into saving money on these things, also?

    Why only these two pieces of property? Did they explore any other options other than these two that were brought to the table? No other directors came up with any other options?

  • By Elliot, March 13, 2012 @ 7:39 PM

    Lancret –

    What do you mean “What does this mean?” It means that free land might save us from paying for land. Where did you hear that no other sites have been or will be considered? Doesn’t it make sense to evaluate a couple of donated parcels first? If they didn’t, you’d be criticizing them for ignoring free land. They know that site preparation can be a significant cost, and the architects are working on these next.

  • By Elliot, March 13, 2012 @ 7:41 PM


    Please explain how the taxpayer won’t make out from getting free land. Are you mad because some rich person might get a tax deduction for donating something of value?

  • By Elliot, March 13, 2012 @ 7:42 PM

    Cartman and asdgrad –

    I fully agree, if it can be done.

  • By fatboyonthehill, March 13, 2012 @ 9:00 PM

    1. One thing you must remember about the 55.6 mil estimate being bandied about right now is the method that the architect arrived at this number. They arrived at a maximum number of students enrolled at maximum population density. They multiplied that number by a factor of “X” sq. ft. per student. They then multiplied that number by a factor of “X” dollars per sq. ft. for the construction cost. 55.6 million dollars is not the amount the taxpayers will be on the hook for. It has been my professional experience that the actual cost will be higher than this estimate which in actuality is only good for discussion purposes. 2. It appears that there are some quick and rash decisions being made concerning the future of this district. While I will not debate the merits of either consolidation or community schools I will say this. Those that currently populate the board are on record as critizing the previous board of trying to ram through their ideology so that no future boards could undo their handywork. It seems to me that the current board is trying to pull this same trick. All I have to add is this concerning that topic is this: Pushing an ideology, no matter what the ideology (be it community schools or consolidation) will be nothing but a dis-service to the students that are to be educated and the taxpayers footing the bill for said education. A slower, more direct approach is warranted and has a better chance of succeeding in the long run.

  • By Lancret, March 13, 2012 @ 11:12 PM


    The land near the vocational school is prime location for a secondary school. As days go by, it seems we have been hearing spin from the architects that there is not enough land at Lenape to put a new school. There has been no substantive explanation with this. In fact, as stated previously, the opposite is occurring. So, Dr. Kerr and other were totally clueless when they envisioned this just a few years ago. What happened to the land? Did it erode into the sea?

    The architects need to give a sound answer why a new school cannot be put in that location. I am hoping to hear other people evaluate that property and give their opinions which hopefully will be more than the architects saying, “Ah, there is not enough land there.”

    And to make you happy, Elliot, guess what? The land is free!

    Let’s quit making excuses and find out the real reason that this site is being ignored by the architects and the board.

  • By asdgrad, March 13, 2012 @ 11:53 PM

    Let me start off by saying I believe we need to do whats best for the students. With that said, fatboyonthehill, how much slower do you want them to move?? The School Board has been at this, what to do and what not to do, for years, now its time to act before its to late…

    Jeepn2k7; yes they have tried this consolidation before in the 90’s Ford City & Kittanning, not kept together long enough to benefit from the consolidation… Elderton to West Shamokin along did not last long enough to benefit from the changes… However at the same time you can say that West Shamokin it self is already a consolidated school, thank to Dayton and Shannock Valley High Schools… Which is a fine school.

    I understand the fact that there is not enough money to build the school to handle all of the districts high school students, however I think they school to built with the ability to expand in later years when the money is there and the need to expand comes around.

    Again I think more consolidation needs done now and not later down the road.

  • By futureconcened, March 14, 2012 @ 12:25 AM

    Don’t hold your breath that the new school will come in under the architect’s estimate. Architects use industry reference materials that are continually updated for current market prices and conditions. The construction market has been depressed at least since the Sept. 2008 crash, close to four years ago. The figures they are quoting today would most certainly reflect current market costs.

    Speaking of the Market crash of 2008, the current teacher’s contract with the avg. $4000 raise last year, $3000 this year, was signed in February of 2009, retroactive to July 2008. Why were they given any raise when the bottom had dropped out of the economy? Was Armstrong County in better shape financially than the nation as a whole? Was Armstrong County doing better than West PA.? Don’t think so. The ASD teacher’s contract was held up as the model for the contract negotiations in the South Butler School District. What? Current board members that voted for the contract were President Close, Dir. Rearic and Dir. Choncek.

  • By futureconcened, March 14, 2012 @ 12:26 AM

    At last night’s meeting, Superintendent Chapp admitted that closing Elderton JR/SR High School did not reduce the costs of operating the facility.
    • The Board’s position at the time of Elderton High School’s closure stated that it would save the district $4 million dollars.
    • At last month’s meeting, the architects stated that all the options being considered for the district would save the district about $3.5 million dollars annually.
    • Pres. Close stated last night that the new 7-12 option for 1775 students will save the $16 million dollars.
    • When questioned on that figure after the meeting, Pres. Close stated that the $16 million dollars was saved over Five Years!
    • OK – so if the architects said that we would save $3.5 million annually and you take that times 5 that would be $17.5 million over five years, right?
    • And if closing EHS in 2009-2010 saved 4 million? Just closing EHS would save $20 million over five years??????
    • Sooooo, closing FCHS, KJHS, KSHS, Kittg Twp Elementary, and EHS saves only $3.2 million a year?
    • Now I’m relying on my ASD education here, but something doesn’t sound right. H.E.R.O. was only able to verify that the district reduced staff by 3 teachers when the Elderton High school closed.
    • The board keeps saying that the savings will come mostly from staff reductions. But with an $85 million dollar 2011/2012 budget, $3.2 million in savings annually is only 3.8% of the budget.

    The students giving up the most (EHS) by being sent to a school 15 miles away from their current school are excluded from attending the new school. I’m sure the students that will attend the new school will be thankful for their sacrifice.

    The new school is being built to hold the current students of FCHS, KJHS, KSHS, and adding Rayburn Twp and Kittg Twp. The excess capacity beyond those students is 50. Divide 50 by 6 grades and you get about 8 students per grade will be allowed to transfer from West Shamokin to the new high school. Saying that the opportunity for students to transfer into the new school from West Shamokin is an exaggeration to say the least.

    Speaking of equal opportunity at the two high schools; at last night’s meeting, the question was asked, “Will the new school have air conditioning?” Most directors sat with “the look of deer caught in the headlights”. Dir. Lhote’s head was bobbing up and down confirming that that was in the plan. To quote Dir. Lhote from questions on the HERC website regarding the proposed renovations: “putting science classrooms on the second floor of a school without air-conditioning is not going to improve education.” If they include air conditioning in the new school, then they need to include the cost to upgrade West Shamokin for this “equal educational opportunity”.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 14, 2012 @ 5:40 AM

    @ Elliot show me where the architects cost is in the 55million dollars it’s not! ..lies. This firm will be laughing all the way to the bank,being paid twice from the 80 million bond. Get ready to get your wallets out we will be getting at least 1 or more tax increases to pay for this “mythical school”.”NOT EVEN 4 MONTHS IN OFFICE and we are getting this new “mythical” school crammed down our throats’ i s a quote I have recently heard from many taxpayers.I am considering selling and moving out of Kittanning,(Armstrong County)before this tax increase lessens my chances of selling my house.Maybe the BIG selling point will be “Hey we have no jobs or industry here but look WE HAVE A NEW SCHOOL!! And our taxes are sky high.Didn’t good old Senator White point out that our taxes are already high??Sorry not a Doctor ,not a nurse practitioner,not a gas company owner,just a blue collar family who have worked their whole life to only watch the possibility that I may loose my home because I can’t pay the high taxes.I think I am going to write my elected officials NOT SENATOR WHITE He’s got his hands too deep in this mess already and did nothing for us.I think someone I don’t know who should do a study to see how many taxpayers are in Armstrong County,we are a economically depressed area and this should throw up some red flags to our government.Again,can anyone tell me what is going on up in the castle on the hill?? Hey David dear,do you have any more of those Senator White Bumper stickers?

  • By GetSmart, March 14, 2012 @ 6:35 AM

    Need a little help here….

    Is the PDE reimbursement that was denied to the previous board still on the table?

    If so, what will be the impact on the new project?

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 14, 2012 @ 7:11 AM

    @ fatboyonthehill,I agree this board should slow down and try to look at the financial impact this is going to have on the school district.and I don’t want to only hear about savings,I want to hear about costs also increasing taxes to pay for this new school,busing costs and would someone please (NOT JAN) show me how this is going to save us money? Staffing costs,new opportunities also mean new positions for teachers and staff.FYI I was given this info from a teacher,The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,which has invested $1.8 billion in American high schools,helping to open 1,000 small schools ,with an average enrollment of 150 or less.About 500 are on the drawing board.Districts all over the country are taking notice,along with mayors like New York,Chicago,Milwaukee and San Diego. The movement includes independent public charter schools ,such as No.1 BASIS in Tucson,with only 120 high schoolers and 18 graduates this year. It embraces district-sanctioned magnet schools,such as the Talented and Gifted School,with 198 students,and the Science and Engineering Magnet,with 383 ,which share a building in Dallas,as well as the City Honors School in Buffalo ,N.Y., which grew out of volunteer evening seminars for students.There is a phenomenon of large urban and suburban high schools that have split up into smaller units of a few hundred,generally housed in the same sprawling grounds that once boasted thousands of students all marching to the same band. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recommends a maximum of 600 students in secondary schools. Activists like Theodore Sizer of the Coalition of Essential Schools often favor much smaller schools-with fewer than 400 students being seen as ideal. Three decades of research reveals that schools with populations of 350 to 500 can boost student achievement-as long as qualified teachers,capable administrators and a challenging curriculum are in the play.Conversely,states with the largest systems tend to have the low student achievement.But those experts who favor of smaller schools argue that consolidation of small districts has created 1)Increased bureaucracy.2)More power in large teachers’ unions.3)Greater influence of special interest groups.4)Difficulty in choosing places to live with reliable and consistent school attendance areas.4)Decreased parent volunteerism.5)Increased teacher absences from the classroom.6)Lower student graduation rates than smaller systems.7)Unfair competition from private schools that are,on average a third smaller than individual public school buildings.8)Complex processes to resolve inequities,conflicts and grievances.9)Noncompetitive substitute teacher programs.10)Lack of effective communication with parents.11) Reduced influence of individual taxpayers,employers,and parents on the future work force and citizenry since administrators and school-board members have much larger constituencies. Deborah Meier(1996) cites seven reasons why schools of 300 to 400 students work best. GOVERNANCE:Communication is easier when the whole staff can meet around one common table.,RESPECT:Students and teachers get to know each other well.SIMPLICITY:Less bureacracy makes it easier to individualize.SAFETY:Strangers are easily spotted and teachers can respond quickly to rudeness or frustration.PARENT INVOLVEMENT:Parents are more likely to form alliances with teachers who know their child and care about his or her progress.ACCOUNTABILITY:No one needs bureaucratic data to find out how a student ,a teacher,or the school is doing.Everyone knows.BELONGING:Every student,not just the academic and athletic stars,is part of a community that contains adults.There is more ,but this is just some food for thought.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 14, 2012 @ 7:20 AM

    Also a friend of mine gave me a call and was appalled a teacher Mr.Randy Cloak from WestShamokin High School took up precious teaching time in the day to have an assembly so he can promote his trips over seas.She wanted to know if this was cleared by the Administration and , if not can any teacher in the ASD call an assembly to promote their own agenda such as maybe a purse party?? Candle Party,This just seems ridiculous and how a teacher abuses his position to take time out of instruction time during the day!! This is ludacris!!!

  • By GetSmart, March 14, 2012 @ 7:54 AM

    @ kittanninglady:

    It is quite ironic,(and hypocritical,) that you didn’t show the same skepticism and criticism for the previous board’s plan.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 8:12 AM


    Don’t blame me. At no time have I said that the Lenape site should not be considered. Since you’re so hung up on this, why don’t you talk to the administration or board about it?

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 8:26 AM

    futureconcerned –

    You listen, but you don’t comprehend. Dr. Chapp stated that there was no savings in HEATING COSTS during the Elderton closure because the entire building needed to be heated. He was not speaking of any other savings. Most people in the room were smart enough to understand that, but not surprisingly, you thought it could be something you could use to cause a commotion. If you want us to believe that only three teaching positions were cut, you’ll have to quote someone more reliable than HERO. The $16M in projected savings over five years is the tip of the iceberg and you know it.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 8:29 AM

    Kittanning Lady –

    Why don’t you show me where it says the architect’s fees are NOT included. (Lies!) You obviously don’t understand the information provided to the public.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 8:33 AM

    Kittanning Lady –

    The article on small schools sounds nice. Get Bill Gates here to fund it until we are flush with jobs and I’ll support it all the way.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 8:40 AM

    Kittanning Lady –

    I agree – a teacher taking time to promote their own personal interests is about as bad as a blogger veering completely off the subject just to bash a teacher they don’t like.

    A teacher’s international trip sounds like a valid topic for supplemental instruction to me, and these types of things are not rare.

  • By Jan, March 14, 2012 @ 8:40 AM

    @kittanninglady: I suppose that you also think that holding pep rallies for sports teams is infringing on instructional time too? What about assemblies honoring Veterans, etc? Is that ridiculous too? Perhaps you should consider the premise of why Mr. Cloak was holding the assembly for a trip to Europe. As a Social Studies teacher, part of what you teach students is the culture of other countries, their government, their commerce, etc. How better to learn this than to be there seeing it first hand?
    Unless you object to students be provided with opportunities to learn outside the box- what’s the issue here? Many schools offer trips for students and families,generally at a cost that makes it affordable. Why would you begrudge this? Just because someone tells you something, doesn’t always mean YOU have all the facts.
    Furthermore- I’d like to ask you this. When the $80M bond was floated for renovations, you appeared to have no issue with this, but now, you have issue with that money being spent on a new school? Tell me what the difference is? If you are concerned about your taxes increasing, I would think this would have occurred when renovation talks were going on.
    You appear to have issues with trust- you don’t believe anyone who does not agree with you. I sat at the meeting the other night when the architects talked about the hard and soft costs. We can all conjecture on what we don’t know, hence why we leave this to the experts in the field. As the bond money is spent ( one way or another) we know that the cost for the construction will be $55M, we also know, based on the administrations analysis, that staffing will be reduced by $16M over a 5 year period. What has not been determined yet is the savings to maintenance/etc. What we don’t know yet is what savings we will have from selling off buildings vacated. I see more +’s in savings in the long run than what we currently have now.
    As to your commentary on the Gates Foundation- review the cities that were discussed. New York, Chicago,Milwaukee and San Diego- all of these areas much greater and richer than Armstrong County. That’s like comparing apples and oranges. Put it in a perspective that mimics what we have here. If you look at the Pittsburgh City Schools, you will notice that they have a similar situation with Pittsburgh Promise-a foundation that is comprised of city schools who are attempting to do what you talked about.They have turned Westinghouse High School into a gender-neutral program, meaning students of same sex have classes together, longer instructional time, etc. and it’s failing to meet the mark. In fact, of the 7 city schools currently open, 4 are scheduled to be closed next year and there is discussion on the table now to close a few more of these schools and combining the other schools to house the students within the city. There are many more schools closing and consolidating than there are schools that are opening to house small numbers of students.

  • By bob, March 14, 2012 @ 8:57 AM

    @Kittanning Lady
    I voted for the new board members because I did not want to see us spend $80M for any of this. I would’ve liked to see the money returned. Unfortunately, it wasn’t till after the elections that we all discovered the money couldn’t be returned without a penalty too large for us to cover. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. What I want to know is why the new board did not even try to transfer this loan to some other district in the state of PA…Did not even try. I know it’s been mentioned briefly a few times.

    WSHS does already have air conditioning.

    I am also curious about using the land by the vo-tech. Seems like if we must blow all this money we’re stuck with, @least we could save a bit down the road with bussing costs? Also, it would make more sense for the whole half-day option that has been mentioned (no bussing costs, minimal class time lost since the students would only need to take a few min. walk). Yes, the land is free and not as much infrastructure would need to be paid for, also saving us a little money.

  • By asdgrad, March 14, 2012 @ 9:01 AM

    Kittanning Lady on you last comment, Really??? If you have a problem with that, why don’t you just call the West Shamokin High School Principal and ask him why a teacher would be allowed to do such things. First, the principal would have to approve of the assembly before it would be allowed to happen, and if it did not have any educational merit, it would not be allowed. With that being said, any school administrator and that includes the principal(who by the way oversees day to day operations of the school and activities) would never allow something such as a purse party to happen. Also in nothing you said do I see anywhere or any how this teacher abused his position.

  • By wakeup, March 14, 2012 @ 9:50 AM

    Really?….I think some of you argue just because you are scared to death of change. If the architects say it costs $55 million to build a new school there is a chance construction costs can go up causing the project to be over budget. GUESS WHAT….the same logic applies to renovations!!!! In fact the variables in renovating 5 schools that have been neglected for decades have a greater likelihood to come in over budget. Just look at the asbestos fiasco last summer. It is more difficult to accurately bid renovating a 100 year old run down home that it is to build a new one.

  • By David Croyle, March 14, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

    I totally disagree with your overall concept, wakeup. The problem is not overruns. The problem is the architects. Grove City School District put a clause in their contract with HHSDR that if the costs did not come in at or below what HHSDR projected, HHSDR would have to eat the overrun costs! Therefore, they did a great job looking at all aspects of the renovation, put out a bid that was comprehensive, were constantly inspecting the work of the contractors, and brought that renovation exactly where it was projected. I criticized the previous ASD board for allowing their architect to use outdated specifications (I know because I had written them in the early 2000 for another company that I worked for at the time) and not holding the architect’s feet to the fire. Unfortunately Dr. Chapp is not at all like Dr. Post was in Grove City. You must place more demands on the architect than just following the whims of the board that change with each election. Unfortunatley, I do not see this board approaching the architectual contract any different than the last one and we will get overruns and poor results. This is MY personal opinion based on MY personal experience and has nothing to do with the position of the Kittanning Paper.

  • By voiceofreason, March 14, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

    I can’t wait to see the type of moronic output that is normally on this board. Something has finally been done. Throw your school pride out the window. That is what this is all about. Whether you want to spew taxes as your reasoning, the real reason is because you don’t want “your” school to close. Reality check, if they can’t pay that money back, the PDE will take over this school district anyways, and what is financially sound WILL be consolidating. That is why they have recommended it in so many other school districts. That is why so many other states are county based schools. I urge any of you arrogant, uneducated bullheads to go down to Central Valley or Penn Trafford or Hempfield or Woodland Hills or Gateway and tell me that you wouldn’t want your kids to go to one of those schools. Some of those schools have been consolidated along time. Braddock was a super proud school and area, but Woodland Hills has worked out pretty well for them. Trafford and Harrison City are so much like Kittanning and Ford City. Small proud towns, but now they are one. Kittanning and Ford City people grow up together, stick up for each other, hang out on the weekends. There is no reason these kids shouldn’t go to school with each other. Talk to nearly anybody who went to Armstrong Central the first time around, and I would say that 7 out of 10 kids loved it. I say 7 out of 10 just to check myself because everybody that I know thought it was great. Add into this a brand new school with new athletic facilities, a new stage for a REAL drama department, a plethora of the arts coming to the area, and possibly a dual enrollment program with IUP-Northpointe to let advanced kids take college courses instead of taking Independent study whatever they want. The truly bright minds of the area are ignored in their later years in high school because they outgrow the coursework. I am sure most of you are not among that group of people, but I was. As I got to be a senior, it became a joke. I was taking classes I didn’t need. I had enough coursework in science, math, and social studies to graduate as a junior. In a big school that offers better studies, I could have graduated in the fall and started college a semester early with classes. Right now, the best minds of this area leave, because they have nothing to pay back. A lot of kids transfer out their junior or senior year to Kiski or Butler or Franklin Regional so they can have the academic possibilities. This is certainly not about athletics, although the athletics will benefit, this is about what is best for the area, the students, and the communities. Kittanning and Ford City are proud and after allowing some time for these communities to be proud as one, there will be something truly special here. If we can fend off the uneducated, welfare pact that will surely create an uprising, there will at least be one thing to be proud of in this area in 25 years. Ford City is a joke right now. Go watch their musical if you want to see. Ford City used to have excellent musicals and they have fallen off to the point of 15 person casts and nobody who can sing. As a person who works with these students each and every day, and works with students from other districts as well, I can tell you that Freeport is a lot prouder of their new school than Ford City or Kittanning is of their crappy old ones. That is the truth. You can buy it or sell it, but it is the truth. Just remember your reasoning when yelping about this because it is unethical.

    If you voted for this board, you knew the new school was coming. If you did not know that, you have proved my point. These guys were the community school movement. If you did not think this was coming, you fit in very well with the rest of the half wits out there. I am so sick and tired of this area being overrun by idiots. 10 half wits does not add up to 5 brains. I actually think it goes the opposite direction. I am proud of this area. I am somebody willing to spend my money into this area. Not a lot of people in the world are looking to do that. I, however, would like to invest money here. I can guarantee you that if somehow this school is not built, I will be moving my money, my pride, and most importantly my education somewhere else. Just like so many before me have. The school is a sign for hope in this area not despair. If you don’t realize that, then we have it a whole lot worse than I originally thought.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 14, 2012 @ 10:30 AM

    @ JAN,”You appear to have issues with trust-you don’t believe anyone who does not agree with you.” Same can be said about you! As to the attacks I am getting in regards to the assembly at WestShamokin,”Can’t you people read?” I was told of this by someone who’s child goes there,my children are grown I live in kittanning. I just am expressing my opinion on this assembly .Also this parent stated that the children who went overseas before… those that were 18 drank got drunk and posted their pictures on facebook,what does that show the people who look on facebook that these children are doing on their trips with said teacher?18 is the legal drinking age over there not here.( AGAIN I WAS SHOWN AND TOLD OF THESE THINGS FROM A PARENT WHOS CHILD ATTENDS WESTSHAMOKIN).”PICTURES DON’T LIE.”

  • By Jan, March 14, 2012 @ 11:35 AM

    Seriously Kittanning Lady- give it up! I don’t care what someone “told” you. The bottom line is this- you made a statement that this teacher used instructional time to lay out the plans for an educational trip- nothing more and nothing less. In order for him to take this time, the building principal would have to deem it as responsible time used- otherwise, it would not have occurred. We can read quite well. We know you don’t have school aged children,however, did it ever occur to you that this student may have provided wrong information or, better yet, the friend of yours heard half of what was said.
    If there were students from the last trip that were drinking- of course, this is not acceptable behavior and I feel quite certain, that the parents/chaperones and teacher who were there would not let this happen again. It was the first trip taken, and one learns a lot about what to expect/not expect on a trip. You continually rant on about rumors you hear;you must be kept very busy all day listening to stories. Here is the bottom line- unless you have all the facts, know the procedures within a school building, it’s best to keep it to yourself rather than make foolish comments. You are entitled to your opinion but keep it in line with the topic at hand. The assembly was educational in nature therefore, not a waste of instructional time. Unless you are a teacher, have taught in a school system, you really don’t know what’s going on or what is acceptable.

  • By bweitzel, March 14, 2012 @ 11:50 AM

    voiceofreason – excellent post! I can relate to your frustration on many levels. My 7th grader will be maxed out of the math program, and probably others, well before he graduates.

  • By wakeup, March 14, 2012 @ 12:26 PM

    David- Great I agree hold the architects feet to the fire….why does this only apply to renovating and not building new? Why would a new building have a greater potential to come in over budget but renovating 5 neglected buildings would not?

    So what is it you disagree with? That the variables in renovations are greater than building new. Do you really know what is behind that 100 year old wall or ceiling in FC High School until you open it up? Is there a possibility that lead paint or asbestos will be found and need remediated ($$$$)? Can the age old plans that have seen numerous renovations over the past 100 years not be accurate once that wall is opened up forcing change orders?

    If your point is simply that the architects need to take the risk of making sure this comes in under budget I would agree with you and my post really had nothing to do with that. Just also keep in mind there is also a cost for those willing to bear risk.

  • By fatboyonthehill, March 14, 2012 @ 1:00 PM

    @ Elliot – Can’t be sure if the architect included their fee in the cost of construction estimate. I will tell you this. Architects typically base their fee on a percentage of the actual construction costs. Typically 6% to 10% of the total costs of construction.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 1:09 PM

    David Croyle-

    YOU criticized the previous board???? On what day and what planet did that happen?

    I understand the desire to force someone to guarantee a price, but it doesn’t sound like the architects are the right targets. It’s the contractor who sets the price. What we are talking about right now are estimates. The bid prices could be different, and the board is not obligated to accept them if they don’t like them. Once a contractor agrees to build a certain design for a certain price, the architects are no longer central to the process. We have a construction management company to prevent overruns.

    Nobody, architects, contractors, construction managers, or otherwise, can know exactly what problems they will run into. Holding anyone accountable for the unknown is a ridiculous notion. If you want that, and you can find someone to provide it, it will cost you. It’s essentially an insurance policy and no one is going to give it to you for free.

    Do you refund advertisers’ money if their ads fail to produce the desired results?

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 1:17 PM

    Kittanning Lady –

    If those “children” were 18, then they weren’t “children.” They were adults who don’t need to answer to their parents or you – only the law, which you have stated was not offended. Keep your gossip to yourself, please.

  • By futureconcened, March 14, 2012 @ 1:19 PM

    @ voiceofreason. Wow! And YOU work with the children of the district? Talk about hate speech!

    The people of the Elderton District willing to step forward and say we will not stand by silently and be stepped on are ALL property owners. Even if we were renters, who apparently you look down upon, the rent paid to the landlord pays the taxes. Such faulty reasoning on your part must surely be a result of that lackluster ASD education you received; it couldn’t possibly be a flaw in your superior intellect.

    As to you running out of educational options in your senior year, then graduate and go to college a year early. How is it the responsibility of the TAXPAYERS of the school district to pay for your advanced classes? You must feel you are “entitled” to use taxpayer’s money for your future financial gain. How is that not living of the governmental teat?

    And I’m not impressed with your sentence construction for such a clearly superior person.

  • By nonamerequired, March 14, 2012 @ 1:27 PM

    voiceofreason- Are you trying to bait the unintelligent welfare scum with your meanness, just to see how we react, or are we too far below your intelligence level for you to even care how we feel about your post? You work with kids?

  • By futureconcened, March 14, 2012 @ 1:27 PM

    Why was the security guard at the School Board Meeting on Monday carrying a firearm? Is that not taxpayer intimidation? Its one thing to have a security guard to escort emotional people out, but bringing a firearm to a school board meeting can only lead to disaster. I fully support having security at the meetings, but the gun is inappropriate. Totally inappropriate!! This shows poor judgment on the part of the board and the security firm.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 1:30 PM

    bob –

    The idea to shop the money around was premised on being able to transfer it to another entity within certain parameters. The board was advised by bond counsel that this could be done within the ARIN IU28 without offending the IRS gods. The administration has stated that this has been done with no takers.

    As for expanding the search statewide, this would require a lenghty waiting game to MAYBE get IRS approval and the board decided (based on bond counsel data) that there was no realistic upside and stopped the process.

  • By GetSmart, March 14, 2012 @ 1:41 PM

    With all the activity on multiple subjects going on, I should clarify one of my recent posts.

    “@ kittanning lady: It is quite ironic,(and hypocritical), that you didn’t show the same skepticism and criticism for the previous board’s plan”….

    I was talking about concerns of cost overruns. Wouldn’t it seem more logical that there would be a greater possibility of overruns on renovations of 40, 50, 100 year old buildings as opposed to new construction?

    Make sure we hold the architect’s and contractor’s hands to the fire. This project MUST come in at or under budget!

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 14, 2012 @ 2:46 PM


  • By David Croyle, March 14, 2012 @ 3:30 PM

    Careful Elliot — your ignorance is showing! Feel free to go back into over 260 radio shows from the previous two years. I criticized the former board for several things and praised them for others. I clearly criticized Dr. Solak for thinking the local taxpayer/voters would accept the $80 million plan. You must have not been on the planet during those shows or just merely took other people’s spin about who I am or what I stand for. People have a hard time with me because I cannot be pigeon-holed into either the consolidation or renovation camp. There are good and bad arguments for both and I state them openly rather than hide behind a cloud of anonymity. If you are secure in your knowledge, come out publicly and express it with your resume as well. I always trust a man who has walked the mile before me and can alert me to the pitfalls. Beware of the man who stands alongside the road with his opinion of what the next mile may bring but has never been there. I have been there in this mile of the road.

    Can you tell me the last time you personally worked with an architect? I will tell you I did it for 8 years – I wrote the technology engineering specs FOR THE ARCHITECTS on many of the schools that renovated during the late 90’s, including Mount Pleasant, New Wilmington, Grove City, Hermitage, and others. So I KNOW of what I speak. You negotiate it like any other clause of the contract. And the architects are the enforcers of the bid specification with the contractors. When the work is properly performed at all levels, there are very few cost overruns.

    @wakeup – I wasn’t debating new school verses renovated schools for cost overruns. I was just debating the issue of cost overruns in general with regards to the architectural firm.

  • By asdgrad, March 14, 2012 @ 3:42 PM

    here’s a thought for the school location.. Since I’m sure they will close Kittanning Township why don’t they just use the 17.9 acres at that site to build the new school.

  • By samkirk, March 14, 2012 @ 3:50 PM

    @Elliot. Take a look at the contract voted on Monday night. Architect fees are not included and can be 6% or more of final costs. They have no idea of what final costs will be. Look at what we taxpayers paid architect and construction manager fees for the stopped renovations. They’re average of over 7%! That means these people are going to make at least 13% on our dime! And we are paying them twice!

    Also look at how much Walter Tack’s hourly wage increases! No wonder people said he sounded like he was testifying for the plaintiffs in the asbestos trial. Where’d he grow up at? It’s a small world isn’t it?

    Bottom line. These new board directors lied to everyone in order to get elected. If they lied so blatantly and publicly to all of us so easily, that means they can’t be trusted in anything they do. I sure won’t be going to Amy Lhote for medical advice but then that’s just me. I believe once a liar always a liar.

  • By samkirk, March 14, 2012 @ 3:56 PM

    @voiceofunreason. I agree. I’m sick of these uneducated half wits in Armstrong county too. They should move somewhere else. So when are you leaving??

  • By samkirk, March 14, 2012 @ 4:03 PM

    @jan. As a parent from the West Shamokin area, I can tell you that what Kittanning Lady said about yesterday is true. There were children that had to stay after school today to make up for the time lost yesterday. You are right, it is the principal that shouldn’t have allowed this. Cloak’s trips aren’t school sponsored. Wonder if Kirk lorigan will be allowing church groups to go into schools to promote their trips too?

    Kittanning Lady is wrong on one thing. There is no drinking age in most of those countries visited last year. Cloak said if parents objected to their kids drinking he had a form they were to fill out and those not allowed not too drink wouldn’t. My cousin was furious that her fifteen year old was drinking.

  • By Lancret, March 14, 2012 @ 4:27 PM


    You came out and pounced on the idea of Lenape when I first posted about it a few weeks ago. You referenced Little Jimmy while in your other posts you seem to be against the plans by the old board. That is fine, but it seems ridiculous to say that the Lenape site could not be utilized based on the words of Little Jimmy. It sounded to me like you were going to use any excuse to pontificate every action by this new board. I am starting to dislike both the old Solak-controlled board and this new board.

    If you read the article, it sounds to me like they are only researching these two sites. If you can link me to something different I would appreciate it.

    We got to get over this thinking that if I back this board then I have to give them 100% undying support. That is where we ran into trouble in the past. Each decision and action should be judged independently.

    Right now, focusing in on only two sites for the new high school is ridiculous. You have free land and even infrastructure already there at Lenape. Why wouldn’t this be your first choice!!! It isn’t making any sense.

    You have tried to throw every excuse at the wall hoping it would stick, but they are sliding down a slithery path to the floor.

    Not closing West Shamokin as a high school is the second bad decision by this board. If you want to equalize the curriculum so that all kids have the same opportunities, then put them all under one roof to not only offer a better education but to also cut costs.

    People are wising up to you, Elliot. You are nothing more than rah-rah cheerleader. You have no opinions yourself; you following whichever path this board takes you. Maybe you are trying to be the spin doctor of the board, who knows, but it isn’t working. You were not subtle enough. People can see right through your go-team-go cheers.

    Any public entity such as the school board should be held accountable. Right now, for me anyway, there accountability and credibility is at a very high risk of being dismissed.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 4:33 PM

    futureconcerned –

    A security guard carrying a gun is a problem? Don’t you have anything better to complain about? Your buddies are not above violence – they’ve proven that, so a gun may well be necessary. Didn’t the Elderton police officer carry a weapon while providing security at the hearings in Elderton? Your grasping at straws is laughable.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 14, 2012 @ 5:05 PM

    @Elliot ,always a smart comment from you,did you ever EVER THINK that some of the CHILDREN in the pictures are NOT YET 18???

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 5:06 PM

    David Croyle –

    No, I don’t take anyone’s word for it on who you are or what you stand for. All I’m saying is that every time I’ve tuned into your morning show, you and/or your wife have sounded NOTHING like unbiased. You’re entitled to have your leanings, but please don’t insult my intelligence by denying it. You do a very good job of keeping the kettle churning.

    As for anonymity, there are many very good reasons why people have user names on internet blogs, from simple privacy concerns to safety reasons. There is no shame in not taking unnecessary risks for one’s family. If you don’t understand that, maybe you’re in the wrong business.

    Now, since we clearly will not reach agreement on any of that, let’s talk about architects. I have never worked with an architect; I was stating my opinion. Obviously you know more about it than I do, so I am willing to learn from you. However, I will reiterate that no one is going to bear those risks without a price. How does performing the work properly at all levels prevent unexpected circumstances to crop up? Someone is going to eat the costs for those – why should it be the architects if they were not to blame?

  • By Lisa, March 14, 2012 @ 5:06 PM

    @voiceofreason- I read your post above about all the grand things coming your way with a new school.To bad the West Shamokin and Elderton Attendance areas aren’t part of it.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 5:53 PM

    Kittanning Lady-

    Today I asked a board member to verify with the architects that the architects’ fees are included in the $55M estimate. They are, as is a 5% contingency to cover overruns and change orders. Sorry. You can turn off your Caps Lock now.

  • By Elliot, March 14, 2012 @ 8:27 PM


    Do you really believe that the taxpayers should not be paying for advanced classes?

    And I re-read your post about the security guards. If you are correct, I suppose that any police officer carrying a gun would be taxpayer intimidation. I’m oppressed and I didn’t even know it!

  • By The Phantom, March 14, 2012 @ 8:49 PM

    “Ford City is a joke right now. Go watch their musical if you want to see. Ford City used to have excellent musicals and they have fallen off to the point of 15 person casts and nobody who can sing.”

    Voice….. I am very offended by this comment. I assume as in all student activities these kids are doing their best. Shame on you for criticizing their talents! I know that FCHS sent 7 kids to regional chorus this year (as seen on Mr. Meyer’s ASD page) and sevral of them are in that very musical. Maybe you should have your hearing checked again.

  • By The Phantom, March 14, 2012 @ 9:00 PM

    Sorry I stand corrected. I was quite upset when I read Voice’s post. 6 FCHS student made regional chorus. I can respect everyone’s point of view on here but I see no reason to drag the children into it.

  • By scott_starr, March 14, 2012 @ 10:13 PM

    THis is my suggestion to the Elderton Folks.

    If the majority agree to have a new school, but want it centrally located so all attendance areas can attend then I highly suggest that, with the same tenacity you used to get EHS re-opened, you make this point known.

    Personally, I am in favor of this position (if this is truly your position) that you all accept consolidation and want the same educational opportunity for all students.

    I will be as vocal supporting you in this endevour to have equal access to a consolidated school as I was against the re-opening of Elderton.

    I will continue to beat this horse, Design the Cirrucula, then build the school. If we have our current cirrucula in a new school, we have done NOTHING, but waste $80 MM.

    To ASD:
    ASD should sell off raw land and buildings at a fair and reasonable price if/when this new school is being built. The school has spent money on raw land which is not used, and will spend money to maintain buildings not in use. Sell the mineral rights and squeeze every cent you can get out of the properties ASD owns.

    This should have been done a few years ago. Money was left on the table.

  • By billybob65, March 14, 2012 @ 11:08 PM

    @getsmart. Cost overruns may not be the correct term in this case. I believe it’s called underestimates. True costs on this new school will be close to double what’s being said. Athletic facilities, architect and construction fees, soft costs, infrastructure and land excavation all are not included. Then all those little extras that will continue to add up. New uniforms and equipment, furniture, etc. It all adds up. This board thinks the public will be fooled and they can keep people quiet so they have no idea what the real costs are. I hope not. Our taxes are going up if this continues. No doubt about it.

    @ voiceofreason. When did Freeport get a new high school that brought everyone to that area? Oh yeah. About fifty years ago.

    Did it ever occur to you that Ford City’s drama program isn’t the same as it used to be because Kathy Valasek retired? Just like any other class or program, it’s not the building, it’s the teacher that makes the program.

    Kids get educated and don’t live here because there are no jobs! Do you think closing all these schools and having one high school is going to change that? It’s only going to make things worse. Higher taxes and less opportunities for kids is all that really will result

    I’ve been in all those schools you’ve mentioned. To answer your question, no I’ve honestly never wished my kids could go to a school like those. I rather enjoy not having to walk through a metal detector to enter the building. And bigger isn’t better. Walmart is a perfect example of that

    Google woodland hills and look at the violence that schools experienced. Teachers attacked, gangs, and more. Perhaps you call that success. Thank you for being the prime example of the half wits of which you speak!

  • By billybob65, March 14, 2012 @ 11:17 PM

    @bweitzel. If you feel your son will be maxed out of all the math classes, then I suppose he could graduate early. Or you could send him somewhere that offers more math classes. A new high school isn’t going to give you more math classes than the entire district offers now. Also how much math do you feel your child needs to get into the college he wants? Are you aware that anything above what the college requires for entry will more than likely result in your paying college fees to repeat those same classes in college?

    Also… Aren’t you the patent that posted earlier you sent your kid to kittanning for more opportunities. Doesn’t sound like that’s working out very well.

  • By billybob65, March 14, 2012 @ 11:28 PM

    @frog. It IS this school boards fault that they’re stuck with this money. Their collisions with dirty politicians, the Snyder bunch, the delays in the planning department and everything else was all to fool people into thinking they wouldn’t spend money. Yet everything they did was to get their hands on that Monet for their own purposes. The previous board continued to tell people they would do all of this and they were laughed at by these new board directors. Some of these new board directors even calling it “the mythical new school”.

    Chapp said they went to ARIN. I called them. Solak came to a meeting and mentioned the ASD was going to get more information on how they could lend that money to other districts and said the district would get back with them. Well they got back with them all right. They said never mind the ASD isn’t interested in eliminating the bond money. So yes. It’s the new boards fault that they’re spending this money.

  • By JornJensen, March 15, 2012 @ 12:19 AM

    David dear (just thought you’d like that) – Thanks for joining this fracus and for putting the lid on Wakeup and Elliot. I had a feeling that you couldn’t hold out much longer.

    You are correct in that the architects will hold the construction managers responsible if they, the architects, are held responsible. Wakeup stated in another string that all I do is stir up this or that without any real solutions or whatever. I was the one that got up and asked the board 4 specific qustions at a meeting a couple of meetings back – one of those questions was to the effect, “Are you going to hold the architects accountable and have them assume the costs of overages?” Your reporter was there, but my questions didn’t make the paper, but they were heard by the board. That was the meeting where I stated that I was impressed that board members were taking notes and someone else stated that Joe Close was drawing stick figures – I thought he was taking notes – I don’t actually know what he was doing.

    Elliot did somewhat convince me back toward a new school instead of fixing up a few old ones and it had nothing to do with the schools themselves, but rather with the word ‘access’. Elliot makes a good point that in-town access, parking, etc., is just plain terrible for the old, in-town schools. That is a very good, strong convincing point to me. If we consider ‘modern times’ starting in the 1960’s, schools and shopping malls became more of ‘campuses’ than in-town entities – they were designed with massive parking and good transportation flow. So, even with a few modernized buildings, we’d still be pre-1960’s with respect to accessability. I admit that I’m on the fence, but that I just haven’t yet jumped on the new school bandwagon. The new board has yet to gain my trust, and I am a change-promoter, not a change ‘fearer’.

    Regarding educational qualifications for school board directors that one other poster had asked for, forget it – you’ll never see that – all that is required is that the person is living and breathing, registered to vote, has gotten the necessary signatures to run and enough people vote for them – that’s it, you’re in! And, after all, it’s a lot of grief and abuse for no pay, so ehtics and nepotism are apparently ignored.

    So, Wakeup, I’ve done 8 years of school board and closed schools and consolidated into one building, plus I’ve offered ideas and debate on this site – tell me what you have done other than criticize others.

    I want to see the layoff list, by name, to get to the $3.5 million per year savings that this board says they will achieve. I am serious – I want to see the layoff list, by name!

  • By maddog, March 15, 2012 @ 12:28 AM

    @lancret. There are problems with the Lenape property. They tested it before. Something about Elgers former dumping ground among other things.

    I heard the newest place they’re looking at is behind Trader Horn. I think on that property Snyders bought years ago to put a hotel on. I guess that’s better than beside the Outlaws clubhouse on the land by the Dairy Queen!

  • By admin, March 15, 2012 @ 12:32 AM

    OKAY FOLKS… gentle reminder to stay on topic.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 15, 2012 @ 5:36 AM

    @ Elliot,Sorry honey you asked the wrong school board director. The architect costs are NOT included in the 55 million. Samkirk is correct!! If in fact a school board director gave you this information,I would suggest that this particular board director is clueless to what is going on and has no reason to be sitting in that position and should do us taxpayers all a favor either get educated on facts or leave and let someone else on the board like Mr.Jorn Jensen who has experience and is intelligent enough to actually go to school board meetings and ask some hard questions,Thank you Mr.Jensen.

  • By Lancret, March 15, 2012 @ 5:37 AM

    Thanks, maddog

    Not saying you are incorrect, but that reason has never been given as the reason NOT to build there.

    I would like to see the test results.

    Like I said, a few years ago, that property seemed wide open for a couple of different possibilities and I did to hear anything about it being an unsafe building site due chemicals.

  • By GetSmart, March 15, 2012 @ 6:05 AM

    @ billybob65

    On your comment “True costs on this new school will be close to double what is being said…..”

    There is no documentation or facts to support your claim. This is merely your opinion and appears to be more scare tactic than fact.

  • By JornJensen, March 15, 2012 @ 7:10 AM

    asdgrad – Sorry, the clean white-board brainstorrming session has ended and the board has been wiped clean again – you’re not permitted to come up with additional ideas. (for the attackers, I’m joking about not being allowed to come up with new ideas – please catch your breath).

    So, the Kittanning Township site would help the folks further to the east? Acessability? Dangerous access off 422, but maybe that could be fixed by others like PennDOT, at some cost (cost to the taxpayers). What routes to get there from the route 85 areas? Services? Water? Sewage? For sure, there’s natural gas out there.

    Does this help areas to the east? Will bussing (is that one or two s’s?) costs go up as we’d be transporting more students from the west a greater distance and transporting less students from the east a lesser distance?

    Just asking – not attacking.

  • By kwiss4, March 15, 2012 @ 7:59 AM

    How long will it be before your crying about how the West Shamokin students are receiving a private education on the backs of the Kittanning taxpayers? What will the magic number be to close West Shamokin? This board is already setting up the eventual closure of West Shamokin by moving students away from that school, and I would like to add it is because of geography. Mr. Close said it himself those students are closer to the new school. So no more this has nothing to do with geography, it has everything to do with with geography.

  • By Elliot, March 15, 2012 @ 8:48 AM

    Kittanning Lady –

    You posted “Those that were 18 drank got drunk and posted their pictures on facebook.”

    Now you change your story to “did you ever EVER THINK that some of the CHILDREN in the pictures are NOT YET 18?”

    I guess my first mistake was thinking you had your facts straight the first time, or had any facts at all, for that matter.

    If there was any wrongdoing, that’s a matter for the parents of the involved students to take up with the administration, and I’m pretty sure you have nothing to do with it.

  • By Elliot, March 15, 2012 @ 8:53 AM

    billybob65 –

    “True costs on this new school will be close to double what’s being said. Athletic facilities, architect and construction fees, soft costs, infrastructure and land excavation all are not included.”

    Except for the athletic facilities, which are estimated at a little over $4M, the entire above statement is false. This was stated very clearly at the last board meeting. On what basis are you refuting the direct statements by the architects?

  • By Elliot, March 15, 2012 @ 9:02 AM

    billybob65 –

    “Are you aware that anything above what the college requires for entry will more than likely result in your paying college fees to repeat those same classes in college?”

    Again, untrue. Most districts offer advanced placement (AP) courses in math and the sciences. A student can then take the applicable AP exams, which are nationally recognized. Most universities will exempt students from one or more college courses based on their performance on the AP exam. I don’t know how much of this goes on in ASD, but it should be happening if it isn’t. This is what people are talking about when they want more advanced classes.

  • By Elliot, March 15, 2012 @ 9:23 AM

    Lancret –

    I’m afraid we won’t be able to have much of a meaningful discussion if you don’t actually read my posts. As I’ve said before, I DON’T CARE where they put the school as long as it is at a reasonable overall cost and makes sense from the perspective of the pupulation it is intended to serve (whatever that may be).

    You came out blasting the board for not considering the Lenape site. I merely stated that, according to Dr. Solak, it was not suitable. I also said that I agreed that the Lenape site made sense if it was feasible. I also encouraged you to ask the right people for some facts. It’s your passionate issue, not mine.

    As for me backing the current board, I’ve watched both boards operate and there is no contest in my mind. I will speak up when people are throwing around misinformation, but I really couldn’t care less who is sitting in those seats. I care mostly about honesty, integrity, and common sense; if you have these, the rest will take care of itself. I’m only trying to get everyone to make up their minds based on facts, not conjecture, hearsay, or gossip.

    I haven’t said it in a while, so maybe it’s time to restate my most important message:

    If you care about what’s going on here, get yourself to the meetings so you can see and hear for yourself.

  • By wakeup, March 15, 2012 @ 9:53 AM

    Jorn- First my comments are accurate. There is a potential for overruns whether you build new or renovate. So the architects estimate to renovate last year could come in higher in the end as well as there estimate now to build new.. Now whether you put the risk of over runs, on the architects, contractor or board that is another subject. Over runs can be the cost of labor, materials, unknown asbestos or lead paint behind a wall, foundations that require extra footings, etc. They exist and there is no way around them. If the architects will manage the project and guarantee the costs in either new or renovated buildings they will pad the numbers to account for it. I also guarantee they are going to want more profit to take on that risk. So this can be negotiated but please keep in mind you will pay more for guarantees!

    So for those arguing for renovations and against building new on the premises of the 55 mil can come in higher, the same is true for the 80 mil renovations they passionately argued for.

  • By wakeup, March 15, 2012 @ 9:54 AM

    Jorn – I have respected many of your posts on this board and also stood up for them. What I have a problem with is when you seem to criticizes any plan that is put forward with no answers of your own except to “right size” the district and lower taxes. What does this look like….a right sixed district? Where is the high school, what gets closed what remains open? Of course you cant give specifics with out studies but if you are going to criticizes every plan put forth there comes a time you need to start offering some sort of solutions, that’s all!

  • By Jan, March 15, 2012 @ 9:55 AM

    @billybob65: I want to make one correction to your post to bweitzel. If her son advances to the point that he has taken every math class available to him at the secondary level- he will not have to repeat those courses in a post-secondary institution- he can “test out” of math requirements for his chosen major if it is deemed necessary.Many students come very well prepared for post-secondary education and when reviewed with their adviser,they are not required to take classes that they have already had- specifically higher level courses, if they can test out of requirements.

  • By wakeup, March 15, 2012 @ 9:56 AM

    Jorn – Let me take this a little further. The problem really is not about a renovated school, a new school, a community school or consolidation. What you and others fail to see is it’s the battle behind these plans that is the real issue. This battle has exist for as long as I can remember. This is why the area is in decline, this is why taxes are so high, this is why education is lacking. Given the choice NO parent would raise there kids in the middle of this war with such uncertainty regarding their future. WHAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO GO ON WITH THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT IS SIMPLY NOT NORMAL. Outsiders see this and I do not care how many jobs you have they would not raise there kids here given the choice, it is SIMPLY MADNESS! Right now I guarantee there is a group out there laying out the strategy to stop this board as was done with the old. There is a high percentage chance they will succeed, why do you think these plans are being rushed? It is a game that has been played for decades, AT THE CHILDRENS EXPENSE…..I KNOW I WAS ONE OF THEM!!!!

    I do not care what side of the issue you are on, if you think any of the plans will result in lower taxes you live in a dream world. However, do nothing and continue to fuel the back and forth and I guarantee taxes will go up as buildings age and the area continues to decline.

    Personally I am for a new school for one simple reason… is the only way I see this battle finally ending.

  • By jerry6, March 15, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

    Years ago when East Brady was open, the kids from Cowansville rode the bus to East Brady. This was a good half hour drive one way, 19 miles. The kids from Cowansville had to go to East Brady instead of Kittanning so East Brady would have the kids. This is the way with the KT kids filling up Elderton high school. These kids all survived. You people that are afraid your kids will be on the bus too long, need to stop babying the kids. David Croyle has told how long he was on the bus from Adrain to East Brady and he survived and is okay. Once the new school is built, everyone will settle down and accept it and will love it. From the time I was a little kid,(I am old, old, now), my mother always said this district is too large. Elderton people complain that kids from Kittanning and Ford City will get a new school. Did anyone complain when West Shamokin got a new school? Elderton kids up near the school can go to this school and it isn’t an old school. People want change and then when it occurs, people get upset. If they can build a new school for the money that is left from the 80 million then more power to them. Things cannot stay the same forever.

  • By asdgrad, March 15, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

    Well then Why not sell of the land already not in use, start the consolidation process at the end of this school year, Elderton and West Shamokin, Kittaning and Ford City. Sell the buildings not being used after consolidation, Put that money towards being a school location in a central Location, for all attendance areas to attend.

    For now
    Elderton + West Shamokin = One
    Ford City + Kittaning = One
    Elderton Elem + Kittaning Township = One
    New School = All four attendance areas + Administration Center.

    Turn West Shamokin in to the New Dayton and Shannock Valley Elementary School.

    Sell the rest of the building not being used after the new school opens to help off set any extra casts.

  • By rfullerton, March 15, 2012 @ 10:41 AM

    Okay, enough silliness…I know the bickering and such is fun ( I know I am the most guilty) but what really needs to happen is some pretty serious and expensive decision making that will last a long time. I have to agree with scott starr that the decisions should be made around a well thought out, future driven curriculum. Find the best curriculum that ASD can feasibly offer and build around that. Good heavens, we pay two different curriculum people a more than fair wage, one would think that they could do some research and with the help of the rest of the administrators come up with a more than sound program. Consolidate and close what we can do so quickly and easily for some savings and then get down to brass tacks and build something the district can be proud of….I am still a big supporter of magnet academies for different tracks of study. We should be utilizing the Tech School instead of continually bashing it. It is an extremely valuable resource. I would think with all the “great minds” in the district an intelligent and feasible plan, that doesn’t favor one area over another, could be implicated. I do think a rush to build new is a mistake with out a long term academic plan. The kids do just fine with the current facilities…are they the best….no…are they the most comfortable….no…are they energy efficient…no…but the kids learn from outstanding, knowledgeable, dedicated, teachers and guidance. The better facilities are just extra incentive and promote school pride and cohesion. Cut cost at the heavy administration level, consolidate the most reasonable buildings and consolidate the best staff. There was savings with the original closure of Elderton…at least 7 teachers were furloughed and quite a few positions cut (maybe 15 or so, I can’t remember) and the teachers that weren’t cut filled open positions due to resignation and retirement…that’s a lot of money.

    Build (and I don’t necessarily mean new) something that we can be proud of and that will last.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 15, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

    Don’t believe everything you read on this blog,I know of many students who went on to college and had to retake classes they had paid for in high school.So,to say the math classes you take and pay for in high school you will not have to take in college is untrue .I base this fact on several students who had to retake math courses in college that they had already taken in high school.These are students who graduated from the top 10 in their class.Just to set the record straight not all students had to retake the math courses but,many did.These were “higher level math classes”.

  • By Elliot, March 15, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

    Kittanning Lady, samkirk, billybob65 –

    This morning I spoke to a representative of LR Kimball with intimate knowledge of our situation. He confirmed what I have been saying. The $55M estimate includes hard and soft costs, architects fees, site preparation, and contingency. The only thing not included is athletic facilities (as I said) and site acquisition costs, if any.

    Is there anything here that is not clear or does not coincide with what I have now stated at least three times?

    “If in fact a school board director gave you this information,I would suggest that this particular board director is clueless to what is going on and has no reason to be sitting in that position and should do us taxpayers all a favor either get educated on facts or leave and let someone else on the board like Mr.Jorn Jensen who has experience and is intelligent enough to actually go to school board meetings and ask some hard questions.”

    Apparently you could benefit from your own suggestion. Keep it up if you must, but I am finished with this debate.

  • By Elliot, March 15, 2012 @ 12:11 PM


    I couldn’t agree more with your 9:53 post. What we are talking about here is called a Guaranteed Maximum Price, or GMP, and is really nothing more than a padded bid to cover the additional risk. What it amounts to is converting the project from “time and materials” (T&M) to a “fixed price.” Unfortunately, we end up paying that higher price regardless of whether it was needed or not. Again, no one in their right mind is going to take on the risk for no additional compensation.

  • By fatboyonthehill, March 15, 2012 @ 12:45 PM

    @ Elliot – In construction projects such as large as the one being proposed, the Architect’s job is not necessarily over once construction begins. The Architect has a role and duty during the construction process is to make periodic inspections of the project to ensure that the building is being built per the contract documents, materials approvals, fabrication approvals, revisions to the design due to unforseen conditions, etc. My point is, the Architect would be involved in this project until the building is occupied.

  • By Jan, March 15, 2012 @ 2:08 PM

    @ ASDgrad and rfullerton: I agree with most of what you are saying. There needs to be a well thought out plan before construction begins on anything….do we even know if this has been discussed or done? May be it has?
    In light of all the discussion here, it appears that the consensus is that there should be 1 new high school for all rather than 2. I personally would have no issue with this but I can’t help but wonder if the reason it’s not on the table now is because of cost? If this is the case,will the general public want to incur more costs than what we have- which would most definitely increase taxes. The issue I see with turning WSHS into an elementary building is that it would most likely have to be renovated to suit the needs of an elementary program, since secondary schools are built differently. This would mean more money spent. If the school can be used as is for elementary- go for it. This would also eliminate some staffing costs I would think.
    It was my understanding ASD that the board did plan to consolidate these schools prior to building new since a new facility won’t be completed until 1215. I could be wrong on this and I’m sure someone will enlighten me. One thing is for sure- whatever is closed needs to be sold/demolished asap so that we don’t see history repeat itself again. If you have ideas as to how you see things going- take it to your school board. I plan to have this conversation with them. I want to know what the cost would be for having one high school and if WSHS can be turned into an elementary building without any renovations. Somehow I think I know what will be said- and I think it will have something to do with cost. It’s good to toss around different ideas- good things can come from this and I think the board would be open to hearing these.

  • By Lancret, March 15, 2012 @ 4:42 PM


    I agree with you 100% about the importance of utilizing the Vo-Tech with the new proposed high school.

    It is politics and geography that is not going to let this option occur.

    Plus, you are missing out one major point….it makes too much sense!

    You can see the direction of this new board by just reading Elliot’s comments.

  • By cartman, March 15, 2012 @ 5:16 PM

    It looks to me like Jerry6 is the only blogger that truly has a handle on the issue. I agree with his/her comments. Aside from that, bussing means kissing. The correct word is busing.

  • By admin, March 15, 2012 @ 11:10 PM

    I am glad, Elliot, that the architects were willing to speak to you, since you are not their client. Every time I approach them, they refer all questions back to the school district. Feel free to email me this representative with “intimate knowledge” as I love talking to birdies that like to sing when their name is not in the spotlight. I believe what you are saying is truly the case, so I am not disputing your information. I would just love to be able to quote it officially, for the record.

  • By JornJensen, March 15, 2012 @ 11:18 PM

    Geez, wakeup – let me go through your points and see where we agree and where we disagree:

    1) “What you and others fail to see is it’s the battle behind these plans that is the real issue.” I agree, I agree, I agree. This area is way stuck in a rut, and has been for ages. I’m the one that keeps saying that down the Allegheny river valley, school districts with brighter school directors fixed the declining enrollment problems decades ago, so why didn’t the ASD? I was in the last graduating class of the Arnold High School Lions before it and Ken High became the Valley Vikings. That was a good thing. My wife was in the first graduating class of Highlands High School, the Golden Rams -she was a Tarentum Redcat (I think that’s right -Redcats). In my time on the Leechburg school board, we closed schools – sold one, tore down the others that my kids went to – they didn’t suffer from that – everyone figured out how to live on… We agree, this area is its own worst enemy when it comes to progress. I don’t fail to see this battle.

    2) “Given the choice, no parent would raise their kids in the middle of this war with such uncertainty regarding their future.” Agree, agree, agree. But, there isn’t just one solution that needs to be looked at – fiscally responsible solutions can include a new school or can include fixing a few and scrapping the rest – but, for some people, only one way is right and then criticize all other ideas. If I’m from outside the area and I saw people building a new school, I might think these people are on the ball and want to educate my kids and others’ kids. And, if I see them correctly downsizing into a few of the existing buildings in a fiscally-responsible manner, I might think that these people are on the ball because they’re trying to fix tax problems and improve education by gathering students into bigger groups in order to create an environment to offer more subject choices and actually fill a classroom. As an outsider, I’d look at both of those choices as positive. But, as I have stated, thanks to Elliot’s post – access will be a forever problem with in-town schools – that is a valid and strong argument, to me, for a campus-type school.

    3) “WHAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO GO ON IN THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT IS SIMPLY NOT NORMAL” Agree, agree, agree, SUPER AGREE! This is the most dyfunctional school system I’ve come across in my many years. And this is where I’m wrong on insisting on a referendum vote – Scott Starr is correct – people, by history, will all vote for a school in their own back yard. So, he apparently thinks that it is better to trust 9 ‘chosen’ people to make a better decision for all of us. He may well be very correct, but I’m not sold on the qualifications or ethics of this board. I have a right to that opinion, right or worng. My point to a referndum is that it is a true measure of what people want – even if they don’t know enough to make a good decision. My prime example is the national referndum in 2007/2008 – poor, poor choice. The same people that will vote for a school in their back yard are the same people, that if offered an airport or a mine shaft in the their back yard, will say, “Oh no, not in my backyard!” People only looking out for themselves – not for the good of all.

    4) “Outsiders see this and I do not care how many jobs you have, they would not raise their kids here, given the choice, it is SIMPLY MADNESS.” Agree.

    5) “Right now, I guarantee that there is a group out there laying out the strategy to stop this board as was done with the old. There is a high percentage chance that they will succeed, why do you think these plans are being rushed?” I have no idea about any such event. You guarantee that this is happening? That is no excuse or reason to ram something through – that is a totally wrong justification for ramming anything. I just want this board to listen to some sharp, interested people with maybe some other ideas – no need to rush, make a hasty, not-well-thought-out decision. Further, they don’t communicate worth a crap – Joe Closes’s face should be in the newspaper every evening, updating the public on such a hot topic. I don’t think that’s happening – one reason that I’m interested in the empty seat on the board – if one is one of the the nine, then maybe one will be given some audience. I do think Sara Yassam should have stuck with it – she’s let down her region by quitting.

    6) “if you think any of the plans will result in lower taxes, you live in a dream world.” I certainly don’t think any of the plans will result in lower taxes and I don’t live in a dream world – I live in a very real world of $8500 per year Pennsylvania real estate taxes – very real world. What I want is to 1) hold the line on taxes by paying down the bond through the savings of downsizing this district to proper numbers and 2) for school property taxes to go away via HB1776 and be replaced by increased sales taxes and income taxes. I can’t do anything about property values, but I can do a lot about my spending and personal income. Do I ruin a wonderful, sure income stream for the school district by not having to pay property taxes? Not my problem – I have to live within my means, so should the school district.

    7) “However, do nothing and continue to fuel the back and forth and I guarantee that taxes will go up as buildings age and the area continues to decline.” I have never promoted ‘to do nothing’, I certainly want real change, not was what sold nationally in 2008. You guarantee a lot. Guaranteeing that taxes will go up is a no-brainer.

    Yes, you are obviously for a new school, as is Elliot and I think Scott Starr and a number of others – Jan also. I’m still on the fence – I like to think things through. For sure, no one decision will ‘fit all’ or suit all.

    So please quit criticizing me for not being solidly new school or loving this board and I won’t criticize you for wanting your new school.

  • By nonamerequired, March 15, 2012 @ 11:49 PM

    So, Elliot, you are saying if all of those things are included, then the school itself will only cost somewhere in the 40s (million) to construct? 55.6 million, minus 6% for the architect fees would put the number at $52,264,000.00. Then if hard and soft costs, site prep, and contingency is included in what is left, then what is left would probably fall below 50 million. How is it possible to “bid” or give an estimate for site prep if the site is not even picked? Even for a house, or a garage, or an on lot sewage system, the site must be thoroughly investigated in order to put a price on the prep work. The statement you are giving out in order to put people at ease is actually concerning me more. I am assuming, and correct me if I’m wrong, you are trying to tell people this school will be at budget because many of the costs they are assuming will be added are already included, correct? To me, it is sounding like a formula for pricing, and real life versus paper is never the same. A + B only = C if A and B are absolute, when A and B fluctuates, so does C. When you say hard and soft costs, can you be specific? Sewage, water, gas, roadways, electric, site prep based on where(?), parking lots, etc. If the architects have this info, wouldn’t it be prudent to give it to everyone to alleviate these worries? Are they willing to give this information to any person who contacts them, regardless if they are on the board or not?

  • By nonamerequired, March 15, 2012 @ 11:59 PM

    Jerry6, when I attended EHS (oh no, dummy speaking!!) in the 90s, my house was only 9.5 miles away from the school if I went the most direct route. I got on the bus at 6:40am, and we got to school at 8am. Then school started at 8:05, and has been changed since then I believe. An hour and 20 minutes, while surviveable, is hideous no matter how you cut it, especially for someone in sports and an after school job. I don’t remember anyone making a fuss about it, because we weren’t walking and we could handle it, but it makes me wonder if others had to do it, how would they react? Sorry, but put kids from other schools on the bus for almost 3 hours per day and see how it goes over. The rural parts of this district must be taken into consideration.

  • By crom44, March 16, 2012 @ 12:12 AM

    @Cartman…just for fun….
    bus, buss (nn., vv.), bus boy, busboy (n.), bus (v.)
    The motor vehicle for carrying passengers is spelled bus; its plural is either buses or busses, both Standard. The verb bus, meaning “to transport by bus,” developed quite regularly through functional shift. It met some opposition at first, primarily because it was new, but the movement toward racial equality in education in the sixties brought it into widespread use, and it is now Standard: The board decided to bus the children to the suburban schools. Its participles are both spelled either way: bused, bussed; busing, bussing. The other noun, meaning “kiss,” is always spelled buss, and the plural and the third person singular of that verb are spelled busses. This word, both noun and verb, is Standard but perhaps now either arch or old-fashioned.

  • By Jan, March 16, 2012 @ 1:30 AM

    @kittanninglady: You just don’t know when to stop. Let me clue you in on something. I teach on a college campus and I advise students. I know first hand that often times students come in with advanced math and science courses- and, if and I say “if” a student can test out of a particular class, they do not have to take the class. The only time a student would have to take a particular class depends on the major they are in and the required courses within that major. So please- stop talking about things you know nothing about. It is amazing to me how many people you know and what you think you know. You’re making a fool of yourself. End of story.

  • By scott_starr, March 16, 2012 @ 5:30 AM

    My position has been consistent and clear, I understand you were not active on this board from the beginning.

    1. Curricula:
    If you can make a competitive Curricula in “community schools” and maintain the taxes, I am for it….. ( I don’t see this happening).

    2. Cirricula: If we have to consolidate some schools to get more opportunity for our kids, I am for it… ( better chance of happening)

    3. Cirricula: if we have to consolidate everyone to get these opportunites, then I am for it. ( there is a cost associated with this).

    Above, you have my stance, the 3 most important things.

    The question or argument becomes “what is competitive cirricula?”. I like others think in today’s competitive environment, we need to nurture our students, AP courses, the Arts etc…. ASD Does NOT do that at the moment ( or at least not as well as it could).

    For others, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are sufficient cirricula.

    I am of the opinion that just because a student wishes to be a carpenter or lathe operator does not mean they do not have interests in diverse subjects. One of the most intelligent people I met built ladders for a living. The guy had a wide variety of interests, was well read and could coverse on all levels. He could talk about “Stiller’s football” as easily as analize Goethe.

    By the way, I’m looking for a heating/ cooling coil which will stand up to an acidic environment, can you recommend a supplier? Probably has to be hastalloy.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 16, 2012 @ 5:41 AM

    Well Jan ,I KNOW you teach “COLLEGE”.”If they can test out of a particular class.” The majority of the time they have to take the class more money for the college.FYI, I know a lot of retired and present “college professors”. You can ask any parent college is frustrating when it comes to the amount of money you spend and the education you receive. This remark was said by a college professor.Please let us do each other a favor lets just agree to disagree with certain issues and never address each other on this website again.Let’s be the bigger people and just stay away from each others remarks on this sight.( Turn the other cheek).

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 16, 2012 @ 6:05 AM

    @ Elliot,What is the school board directors name you talked to?Many of us would like to know so we can ask them questions also.I have been to school board meetings,remember I do have children .They are grown now but I did attend the meetings several times in the past. Present, David dear has them on the radio so I can listen to them . but because of meetings being changed I may have to start attending them again because we seniors are concerned about taxes going up.

  • By Elliot, March 16, 2012 @ 8:20 AM

    admin –

    Perhaps it’s who you ask, perhaps it’s how you ask, perhaps it’s what you ask. The bottom line is that the information I confirmed was already stated publicly at one or more board meetings and could have been reported by you or any other news outlet. Review the tapes and you should be able to “quote it officially, for the record.”

  • By Elliot, March 16, 2012 @ 8:43 AM

    nonamerequired –

    You’re math is a little off, but yes, you have the correct understanding: the actual cost of construction is estimated to be less than $55M. The reason I mention your math is that the architects’ fees are 5.8% of the construction costs, which I don’t believe have been broken out for us yet. So, the architects’ fees would be 5.8% of some number less than $55M.

    You are correct that site prep costs can be quite variable. Remember, we are not yet talking about bids, we are talking about architect estimates. The site prep costs are indeed just an estimate based on their experience. That’s exactly why the next logical step is to start looking at available sites more closely and start refining eatimates such as the site prep component.

    Of course real costs can differ from estimates, but this isn’t the first school project the architects have designed. Like anyone, they can only base their estimates on past experience, of which I assume they have more than anyone posting here. As was stated at the last board meeting, they will be able to provide more and more accurate estimates as the process evolves. If they run into anything way out of the ordinary(e.g., unacceptable core samples), that would be good reason to adjust the plan (e.g., eliminate a site from further consideration).

    I can’t provide an exact definition of “soft costs” without doing a little more research, but I’m sure a quick Google search would help you out. My basic understanding of soft costs is anything outside of construction costs (e.g., architects’ fees, construction manager fees, permit fees, perhaps the portable furnishings, etc.).

    Thank you for your thoughtful and courteous post. I hope you find my response helpful.

  • By cartman, March 16, 2012 @ 10:46 AM

    I know I’ve said this before, but time is of the essence here. The time has come to stop mollycoddling the community school people. I, for one, have come to hate the term community schools, as it has harped upon for so long. Anyone who argues that a tiny public high school can offer the same opportunities as a big one is either ignorant or deliberately deceptive. Then, there is issue of Elderton seceding from the district,thereby taking the East Brady whining coward’s way out. Those advocating such an idea are not worth listening to. Let’s cut the crap and get down to business!

  • By Elderton Parent, March 16, 2012 @ 2:02 PM

    Admin, I think you might be on to something there. Just sayin’

  • By mutchka, March 16, 2012 @ 5:40 PM

    I see we are taking bids on work at the ford city football field . If we are going to be quad a why waste the money on Ford city lets shut down the sports and have one football team at Kittanning this year and get this thing rolling. You never know what might happen so let’s burn those bridges now before the sports nuts wake up to what’s going on here.

  • By jerry6, March 16, 2012 @ 8:52 PM

    nonamerequired: How dare you call the kids from Elderton dummys. My kids went to Elderton and are both college graduates. You people always have to insult someone to get your point across.

  • By JornJensen, March 17, 2012 @ 2:01 PM

    nonamerequired – You and Elliot need to sit down and chat a bit – you state, “The rural parts of this district must be taken into consideration.”
    Elliot states, in a response to kwiss4 in the string regarding the public meeting in two weeks, “People need to get over their “what about me” mentality. We build schools where they are needed, to serve the needs of the entire district, not to satisfy peoples’ feelings of entitlement when they choose to live in the middle of nowhere.”

    So, now what? Which way is it going to be for the ASD?

    Elliot’s statement, toward the end of what I listed above, might sound a little harsh, but think it through a little bit. I know wakeup, I’m stirring it up again, but look – is the eastern part of the ASD in the ASD or isn’t it? That’s a core question that needs to be answered.

    On this, I agree with Elliot. First, WAY TOO MUCH “what about me mentality” exists around here. And this is where a referendum might not be a good idea and a top-notch school board might be a good idea. If I choose to ‘live out’, I know the benefits of having my own water and sewer company rather than the nice government folks providing that for me and having a monthly, ever-increasing shakedown of my money for their over-paid, highly inefficient systems and, to borrow another’s expression ‘living off the government’s teat’. So, with the benefit of ‘living out’, I take the full responsibility of knowing that I have to provide more for myself – just the way I like it. Like a long bus ride for my kids if we had any that age. Second – I am anti-entitlement – I don’t want entitled to anything other than the opportunity to make something of my life for myself and my family. That, I have been granted. And SS is not an entitlement – I’ve paid a lot into that wonderful Ponzi scheme saving plan, so I own that money that ‘may’ be coming back to me.

    My point is that I, for one, accept my responsibility for ‘living out’ and I respectfully request that others ‘living out’ accept their responsibility for the same.

    Crom 44 – Thanks for the spelling lesson on the ‘act of using a bus to get somehwere’ – enjoyed it. To me, busing would involve a long vowel, the ‘u’, and the word would sound weird. Two s’s makes a short ‘u’, and to me, a proper ‘sounding’ word.

    See? We can learn something by communicating on this site!

  • By admin, March 18, 2012 @ 2:53 PM

    @Elliot – thus not revealing your source. I got it!

  • By worthingtonman, March 18, 2012 @ 3:16 PM

    I get all my inductive coils from Ajax Tocco. check them out. maybe you can even get Jorn to install it.

  • By nonamerequired, March 18, 2012 @ 3:17 PM

    Jerry6, I don’t know how you missed this, but I am an EHS grad. I was making a sarcastic point to others that when they say we are graduating kids who are sub par that its NOT true. I was being facetious, because I happen to think the exact opposite that we EHS students are dummies. Does that clear this up?

  • By Elliot, March 18, 2012 @ 4:12 PM

    Kittanning Lady –

    With all due respect, I am not going to throw one director’s name out there so you and others can take shots at him/her. You know the names of your board representatives – call them!

  • By jfullerton, March 18, 2012 @ 5:05 PM

    I have to respectfully disagree with Scott Starr and rfullerton about the curriculum. The Pennsylvania Department of Education stipulates the educational curricula via the academic standards, PSSA and so on. Similar to the Program of Study vocational-technical schools have to follow as well. What needs to be addressed is the INSTRUCTION to go along with the curricula. (Is this what you are implying Scott?) How are these anchors and standards addressed? How are they applied? We are in an age where students have a vast knowledge of technology that allows them to quickly answer recall or memory type questions. Is it important to know when the Industrial Revolution occurred (which you can Google rather quickly) or how the impact of the Industrial Revolution has on our economy today? Perhaps if the instruction was better, there could more AP classes offered as Mr. Starr suggests. How often are the professional development topics actually used in schools to their fullest extent? And I am not just talking ASD, so please all of my teacher friends on Facebook, do not defriend me because I may not agree with you. (sorry, just a shot at some folks who do not want to face reality). How often do educators put in the time, realizing that this too shall pass? Again, it’s the truth no one wants to talk about.
    Hopefully the change in leadership of ASD Cyber has been beneficial, because the leader that left for Freeport just wanted kids to pass, regardless if they passed or not. It is the perception game folks. If students are passing, it must be a good program. Makes you wonder if this happens in the classroom as well. Again, not exclusive to ASD, but when you are talking about saving money and getting bang for the buck, then there is a place to look at as well. The money spent on professional development for teachers cannot be wasted either. There needs to be good leadership not only at the District level, but at the building level and making the teachers accountable for the professional development initiatives. Ask your children what Formative Assessment strategies they have seen lately.
    The Educational system as a whole is broken. We have a test driven curricula. Regardless if the PSSA goes away and the Keystones or Common Core standards come into play, we are still putting students in a one size fits all model. We can right size the district, but until we expect more from instruction, it will be the same old stuff, just in a bigger building.

  • By Jan, March 18, 2012 @ 6:15 PM

    Dear Kittanning Lady: I will agree to disagree with you and vice versa, however, when you make comments that are incorrect, I feel obligated to set the record straight so that others don’t get mislead. Post-secondary education is expensive however, when a student comes to me and I look at their transcripts, I will encourage students to test out of classes as to not have to repeat something they already know- and many college educators do this. So please quit saying that the majority of kids are taking classes they don’t need so that the school that they attend can make money. You have a way of going off track with your comments. And for the record: you made a statement that the students from WSHS had to stay after school to make up work when they sat in on Mr. Cloaks’ meeting about overseas trip- this is NOT true. I spoke with an administrator there and was told that was a false statement. Just get your facts straight and I promise I won’t address you again.

  • By Jan, March 18, 2012 @ 6:19 PM

    I had a conversation with my school board representative and I asked the question as to why the option of building 1 high school for all attendance areas was tabled in favor of building a high school for KHS/FC and parts of Kittg. Twp. His response was as I expected. They looked hard and long at this option but the cost prohibits them from doing this unless we all want to come up with the money to pay for it. He stated that the cost was around $80+M to build this option- along with that, the cost to renovate WSHS as an elementary school is also too costly. So there we have it. The board would have considered this option if it would have been cost-efficient but it’s not.

  • By samkirk, March 18, 2012 @ 7:40 PM

    Lol Jan! They “looked long and hard at that option”! Bwahahaha!!! They were presented their ” clean white slate” on January 16th. They didn’t receive any options until mid February! Who are you trying to kid?

    Also everyone knows you live near Kirk Lorigans mom. You say you spoke to an administrator and we’re lying about kids having to stay after for lost time thanks to Randy Cloak’s sales pitch? Maybe you should talk to parents of the students instead of an administrator trying to cover himself!

    It must be tired for you keeping all your stories straight!

  • By samkirk, March 18, 2012 @ 7:57 PM

    @ Elliot. If you are not a school board member or administrator I want to know how a regular citizen can have conversations with LR Kimball about school board business? If this is true I ask every concerned citizen to contact that firm and ask all the questions they want. After all, this firm gave the numbers for the high school placed on the referendum last year and it was almost double this cost

    Yeah yeah. You consolidationists will say but the technical part blah blah. It’s easy to look at the report from Kimball from last March on the ASD website and take that part out to see the real costs. I lost faith in Kimball the minute Berdell was bragging how Mark Snyder got him a private luncheon with a Kimballs architect before he was even elected

  • By JornJensen, March 18, 2012 @ 10:23 PM

    Worthingtonman – (And, Admin, I konow this is off the topic, so it will be brief – thank you.) If you buy your inductive coils from Ajax Tocco Magnethermic (ATM), then I thank you as that work puts food on our table. These products are proudly made in the USA by tax-paying Americans to the highest quality. Inductive coils are all water-cooled copper and they do not like acid – one of the hastalloy grades is probably best in an acidic environment, but not for inductive heating. I’m currently installing a camshaft heat treating system at Cummins Diesel Engine, Lakewood, New York – dual spindle vertical scanners – two of ’em. They’re making diesel semi engines like there’s no tomorrow – since 1976, they’re over a million units shipped.

  • By JornJensen, March 18, 2012 @ 10:46 PM

    Scott Starr – Schools – Your topic of school curricula is probably, sadly, above the heads of a number of school board members. They’re wrestling with the basics – and they have plenty of those to struggle with – build a school – where? Who will that make happy and who will it make angry? Were we stuck with enough money from the previous board? How many people to lay off to pay for this consolidation? Whose relatives have to go? How badly do we have to shake down the taxpayers? Can we get the hired ‘suits’, for 6%, to do that? So on, and so on. If you confuse them now, with curricula, they might just throw their arms up in the air. My guess is that their thought is to deal with that later when they have more students in only one or two buildings – just like dealing with elementaries later.
    I agree with you – curricula-based should create the basis of how to do all of the rest of this.
    Your item #1 needs Bill Gates and his wife to do as someone on one of these postings stated – create these tutor schools that do work well – heavily funded by those who can afford it – the Gates, not the taxpayers, especially not fixed-income seniors facing losing their homes to unpaid property taxes. This isn’t the America that they built years ago. These tutor schools would have the least bussing costs (I’m sticking with two s’s Crom44) – there’d be very little distance when you have a bunch of schools.
    Your other two points address the taxpayers’ case – sure, we want to provide for education – cost-effectively.

    Check with the boiler manufacturers, like the folks in the old Alcoa Aluminum factory (Schrieber Industrial Park)in downtown New Kensington – some of their boiler tubes are of the more exotic grades, but I don’t know if they approach acids.

  • By admin, March 19, 2012 @ 2:35 AM

    Commercial approved, Jorn. Now where do I send the bill??? 😉

  • By JornJensen, March 19, 2012 @ 6:35 AM

    Admin – Good point, I won’t do it again except for the commercial below. I’m VERY pro-American work – that’s how we can pay taxes to support all of the great things that our taxes do for us.

    Just one quick example – Allegheny Ludlum used to send heat treated steel to Onieda and they made eating utensils – top quality. Go to most restauarants today and eat with one of their forks – if you can, because the tines are all pointing in different directions. So, before you eat, you straighten the tines with your bending knife. This is what we’ve come to accept and expect. What is different? Poorer grades of stainless, not heat treated and manufactured overseas so someone can make a bigger buck for their shareholders.

  • By Jan, March 19, 2012 @ 7:10 AM

    @samkirk: Let me see if I get this straight- you don’t believe an administrator who says that after school instruction did not occur. Why would an administrator lie about this? There is nothing to hide. There are many situations that occur within a school that takes students away from instruction and generally, all are based on educational opportunities. Students can be pulled from class if a post-secondary institution comes in to discuss their schools program for students, students get pulled from class for pep rallies or other programs that are deemed educational/fun for students and I bet that after school instruction does not occur for those.You don’t trust the administration, you don’t trust the school board and you don’t trust the architects…..who do you trust?
    BTW- haven’t seen or talked to my neighbor in a very long time so your guess is off base. I’m quite capable of picking up a phone and calling a school to get information- it’s public information.
    As per my comment to the board looking long and hard at the options presented- apparently I used the wrong terminology.Let me see if I can re-state this for you to make my point clearer. The board took their time in weighing the options. Time can be measured in many different ways- not necessarily in years, months or days. Housing all students under one roof was strongly considered ( according to board member) but the cost was prohibitive. You are assuming that the $155M figure placed on the referendum came specifically from the architects- do you know what all was included in that cost? I believe that if you look back on this,you will see that much was included in that cost- much more than what is currently included in the cost of the new building option.
    One last point- one does not have to “keep their stories straight” when they stick with the facts rather than conjecture/rumors.

  • By kwiss4, March 19, 2012 @ 8:35 AM

    Mr. Close says there will be 16 million in staff savings over the next 5 years, how is that possible? All buildings would need to be closed at once to realize that kind of savings. So is it that the savings will come the 5 years after the school is built? Look at the minutes almost every month there is a slate of new hires for one reason or another. I’m just not confident there will be that much savings in staff.

  • By kwiss4, March 19, 2012 @ 12:54 PM

    Does anyone know what formula was used to arrive at 55 million dollar plan con 1775 new school?
    If you use hays larges calculations, you would take 1775x160sf/per student=284,000 sq.ft, then you take 195 sf/( constuction) + 45/sf (soft)=240$ per sf. 240/sf x 284,000 = 68,160,000. So What is the new sf per student and the sf for construction and the sf for soft cost that gives them the 55 million dollar figure? I asked for this information at the last meeting and they could not or would not provide it to me.

  • By billybob65, March 19, 2012 @ 6:37 PM

    @kwiss4. Please ignore Joe Close’s exaggeration I think he was dropped on his head as a child! Seriously where is Choncek’s whining? He had a fit saying he didn’t believe Kimball and ASD administration about any savings in closing the Kittanning Jr. High. He wanted all kinds of information. He’s not questioning anything now. Just so he gets his new high school

    Remember the last board cut around sixty positions last year. Choncek, Rearic, and Close voted against it because they wanted to be able to say they had lots of cuts in closing schools this year. Chapp said multiple times they’d be lucky to cut ten people if they close EHS. They’re up to their old tricks again. Playing fuzzy math with their buddy Mike OHare helping promote their lies so no one knows the truth until its too late

  • By samkirk, March 19, 2012 @ 7:31 PM

    @ jan. I don’t believe the administrator who told you that kids didn’t stay after school because I know people personally who had to go to that school and pick up their kids for that reason. I’m not wasting any more time arguing with you over this. I’m a parent from that area. I know what happened. Just because you and Lorigans mom live at the Country Club doesn’t mean you’re an expert on everything. Makes me wonder what else happens at our school that people don’t know about.

    @KittanningLady. It was a nice try with Jan but believe her when she says if you state something she thinks is wrong she will respond to you! She has no choice! She thinks she’s the expert in everything here and will not ever concede to being wrong even after proof has been posted again and again she is. You’re the bigger person. Don’t waste your time on her.

  • By samkirk, March 19, 2012 @ 7:59 PM

    @cartman. Anyone wanting to secede isn’t a coward. The cowards are the school board that lied about their plans to get elected and are continuing to be deceptive in order to get what they selfishly want for themselves. A new school convenient to their area while criticizing others because they’re concerned about distance. One or even two high schools in 436 square miles is a joke. Blaming the school district for no jobs in Armstrong County is ridiculous. Maybe if we got rid of the corruption and found some real leaders in this county things would change.

    Community schools support communities. They keep taxes, families, businesses, and employment in communities. This cheap new school they’re trying to shove on us will do none of that. Maybe we should name it “Miracle High School” since it appears building this school will make all our dreams come true

    By the way Cartman. Did it ever occur to you most people don’t even know what’s going on? The other local media is covering this board. It’s as bad as the time Terry Rupp totaled his car and got arrested for DUI and the Leader Lies hid it on page three

  • By maddog, March 20, 2012 @ 12:13 AM

    Good one Samkirk! Miracle high school! Only the miracle will be if anyone can afford to live in this county if they build this thing!

    I hope those Elderton people sue this school district for what they’re doing to their area. Maybe Ford City can join in too. I think we all should pack that hearing on Monday and tell them keep our schools open and stop this new school. I’m not drinking the kool aid this boards selling. Our taxes didn’t go down when elderton closed before. It won’t happen now.

    Good for HERO for having the guts not to put up with this stuff! Does anyone know if SOS is still active ?

  • By Jerri, March 20, 2012 @ 1:33 AM

    Cartman. The only cowards I see in this whole picture is the new school board. Stan Berdell said they won’t have the hearing next Monday in Elderton because the last time people lined the streets and they had to drive past them. I said so they can line up at Ford Coty and he said they would have the cops make sure that didn’t happen. What happened to right to peaceable protests? There are no rights in this school district anymore. These fine upstanding board directors are so much above all the rest of us they don’t need or want your opinions. They are just going through the motions to do what they want.

    I hope everyone realizes that the hearing Monday is the ONLY hearing that people can voice out against this new school. Sure they made it about Elderton but for a reason. Get the only organized group out of their way with false hopes of secession and tuition. Hurry up and close the school they made the scapegoat of the district so they feel other areas won’t care. Then by the time they have to have a close vote for Kittanning and Ford City it will just be a formality because the new school will be already started

    Don’t believe the lies! If they actually will only spend 55million on a new school it has to be cutting every corner possible just to get it started. The real costs will be later. We all need to attend the hearing on Mondat and stop this madness!!!

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 20, 2012 @ 5:31 AM

    This new school is the topic at our social gatherings. Many of us are concerned we are being lied to and are given false estimates on this new school.Who can we as a group contact to get this investigated?Jorn do you know of anyone we can get in touch with? David dear do you know of anyone? We are in fear of losing our homes when our taxes are raised.Some of us are thinking about putting our homes up for sale or just letting them go for taxes.Our group is not just a bunch of senior citizens there are younger people who have come to us and have expressed their concerns.

  • By Jan, March 20, 2012 @ 6:42 AM

    @samkirk: WOW- you sure appear to know a lot about me- funny, I know nothing about you! Like everyone who posts here- we all have an opinion- you included! If someone makes a statement that I know is untrue- of course, I’m going to set the record straight. For heaven sake- my response to Kittanning Lady is based on my employment at a post-secondary school so I should know protocol there. As per my comment regarding WSHS- if an administrator tells me that the rumor of students being kept after school was untrue- why would I not believe that person? Did it ever occur to you that perhaps those students were kept after school for other reasons?
    My opinion of you and your posts is that you like to hit below the belt whenever possible- ie, the comment about Mr. Rupp. Totally uncalled for. These measures do nothing to help this district. Why not post items that can truly help to benefit this district.I’m sure that everyone who posts here has some skeleton’s in their closet- so don’t throw stones. Just sayin…

  • By Jan, March 20, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

    Many of you posting seem to forget that our taxes have been high for a long time and this is mainly because we have to support so many community schools. Do any of you realize that keeping a school open with very low student enrollment, same number of teachers teaching the classes,administrative staff ,custodial services and maintenance on these buildings is not cheap- and lets not forget as many of you are doing, the last board borrowed the money and it has to be used in a cost effective manner. Consolidation is the only way for this to occur- whether you like it or not. Most schools in this country are consolidating schools to become cost-effective and we are no different. If you fear losing your home to high taxes- it will occur whether this board builds a new school or renovates old buildings. Personal feelings about all of this is natural but logic needs to prevail.

  • By Elliot, March 20, 2012 @ 1:38 PM

    Do NOT be misled by anyone who would say

    “I hope everyone realizes that the hearing Monday is the ONLY hearing that people can voice out against this new school.”

    The above statement shows a complete lack of understanding of what is happening, or is an intentional falsehood. Monday’s hearing has NOTHING to do with any new school. It has everything to do with reducing building inventory and operating costs in order to balance the district’s budget without increasing taxes.

    A new school is a separate matter. At an appropriate time in the planning process, in accordance with state law, one or more public hearings will be held to receive public input on that project.

    Please don’t go to Monday’s hearing wanting to talk about a new school. It’s not the proper venue.

  • By Jerri, March 20, 2012 @ 1:56 PM

    maddog I think a good start would be bombarding Senator White’s and Representative Pyle’s offices with letters, calls, and emails. After all, they were so so so concerned that our taxes would raise and we couldn’t afford spending any money, they should jump at the chance to stop us and help all of us from the tax increase this new school will cause. Tell them, their wealthy backers have the money to pay the taxes from this mess they created but the average ASD resident does not! Petitioning the Department of Ed is another way. And showing up at Monday night’s hearing and speaking out is a great way. This hearing really isn’t about saving money and closing EHS. It’s about spending millions and millions and closing all schools to benefit one area.

    We can’t afford not to speak out. They will tell you to stay on topic and speak only about Elderton. Staying on topic simply means throwing in something about Elderton being the beginning of the new school that will bankrupt this district! This is the only hearing that will matter about the new school. Once they start building it, the closure hearing for Ford City, Kittanning, Shannock and Dayton Elementaries, and West Shamokin as a high school will be moot points.

  • By Jerri, March 20, 2012 @ 1:59 PM

    Jan I respectfully disagree with you on Terry Rupp. Any man that was as vicious as he was deserves no sympathy. In my opinion, he was the worst school board director the ASD ever had seated. And his lies in his campaign literature (that many of us still have) stated that he was a navy seal, part of the Elite Seal Team 6, etc. and public navy records proved that was all a lie. What kind of person does that?

  • By Bison4ever, March 20, 2012 @ 3:05 PM

    Yes, please..stop the madness!! Build the new school and once and for all stop the madness! Kittanning Lady & I definitely run in different social circles because everyone I have had discussions with about this say build the new school! Young & old (and I don’t even live in the Country Club area!) I have said before that I hope the board has the strength to make the decisions needed. They didn’t cause this mess but they can try to make something positive out it. As a parent of children in the ASD & as a taxpayer, build the school so we can move on & look to the future. The back & forth has got to end.

  • By GetSmart, March 20, 2012 @ 6:37 PM

    @ Kittanninglady:

    Let me see if I have this right……
    You don’t trust the new school figures, even though it has been well documented that they are, in fact, in line with other construction projects in Western PA. However, you apparently believed and trusted the inflated figures Jimmie and Rose promoted, even though there was significant proof they were not in line.
    You are concerned about rising taxes, yet you apparently were in favor of the actions of the previous board and the fact that the state PDE reimbursement was DENIED! What was that, a $12 MILLION HOLE! They took the $80 million before they had everything in place on the ASSUMPTION the PDE money would be approved. Where do you think that money was going to come from?
    Sometimes you people make me shake my head in disbelief. It is now time to start pulling this district together rather than continuing to try to pull it apart!

  • By ASDpayer, March 20, 2012 @ 11:01 PM

    @Kittanning Lady

    I am wondering if you have evidence that you are being lied to? It sounds like a group of you get together, pass along rumors and such and then decide that you are being lied to. When the past board took out the bond issue, it was almost certain taxes would be raised. The new plan may lessen that effect, with savings in the new building.

    So what kind of investigation do you want? What the current board is doing is open and out there. You may not like what they are doing, but I see no evidence of lies being bandied.

  • By JornJensen, March 21, 2012 @ 12:56 AM

    Kittanning Lady – I do not know whom to get in contact with. Here’s how I see it – taxes most likely do not need to go up in order to consolidate or build a new school if a few things happen: 1) School board is willing to make the really tough decisions including closing buildings and laying off employees, including family members, in a consolidation/downsizing. The downsizing HAS to occur to create the savings to pay back the loan, regardless of how the loan is used.
    2) To support statement #1, somone from administration/school board has to ‘lay down the numbers and cuts’ to prove that the loan can be paid down by downsizing savings – it can’t just be all of us guessing or ‘saying so’. And, the cuts are not just people, it’s buildings also – shut them down, close them, sell them, tear them down – whatever.

    Remember, taxes can and probably will go up because of other reasons – routine increased operating costs – insurances, natural gas (although it has gone down in recent times), electricity, more and more building repairs, water and sewer because those are government-run operations and you know how government-run anyting works, higher diesel fuel cost for school busses, and the pension under-funding problem that just doesn’t seem to go away.
    Ideally, those increased costs PLUS any building work would be nice to come from downsizing savings as our taxes are already unreasonably high as compared to neighboring counties.

    I do believe that the loan can be funded with downsizing savings, but it will require some really thick-skinned individuals to make REAL management-type decisions – I’m not so sure these people have that type of management experience – like some others on this site, I’d like to see some resumes.

    I’m quite surprised that not many on this site realize or comment on the plight of retired senior citizens losing their homes to taxes – maybe when it hits home, there will be more understanding. Trying to sell your home in an over-taxed environment will only mean offering it for a very low price to offset the forever rent in high taxes. Again, look at Butler County with approximately 1/2 the tax rate for comparable properties. No wonder retiring ASD teachers move to Butler County to avoid the high taxes of Armstrong County – I would too.

    Look up Representative Jim Cox on the internet or PA House of Representatives – he understands the challenges retired seniors face in paying the taxes or losing their homes. Jim Cox is from out east somewhere – out around Reading or that area. Look up his House Bill 1776, Tax Independence Act.

    On a side note, when I was 15 or 16 (long ago), on a trip to Europe, I had a legal beer with my dinner in a restaurant in Denmark. For the restaurant, it was business as usual, and when I was done with my meal, I walked, not crawled, out of the place. In Aruba or Curacow (SP?), it is legal to drink (alcohol) and drive, but it is illeagl, and you will be arrested, for operating a cell phone or ‘similar device’ while driving. Neat twist on rules – so we bought a six pack and drank some while driving just to experience what it was like to ‘get away with something’ that we’re used to being illegal in the US – this in reference to the comments on student trips overseas where they ‘drank’.

  • By scott_starr, March 21, 2012 @ 4:32 AM

    $80 million dollars is $80 million dollars, the debt is the debt.

    I really don’t get how folks think we can save with 4 high SChools vs. 2.

    Again, it is all about Curricula in my mind.

  • By asdgrad, March 21, 2012 @ 9:06 AM

    People give the school board a chance it is still early in all of this yet, all the plans for a new school have not be finalized; that’s a stepping process. Remember they are elected to do their job and not be paid for it, I don’t care who is related to who, they all still have to pay taxes to this district the same taxes we all have to pay. So therefore they are trying to do what is best for this school district, you want action, rightsize the district, that’s what they are trying to do.

    So what if they close schools, that is what is needed at this time. other wise I do believe this district is a sinking ship. But like I said give this people a chance.

    And I’m sorry I disagree with anyone that says that a new school is favoring one side of the district and not the other, West Shamokin is not that old of a school folks. With all of the other schools being as old as they are West Shamokin in the newest out of all the High Schools.

  • By Elderton Parent, March 21, 2012 @ 9:48 AM

    So Elliott, you are saying that the Closure hearing on Monday and building a new school are separate matters? I disagree. I think they are completely related to each other.
    I agree with Jerri about Terry Rupp – he is an evil person. As someone said in another post, there is a place in hell for people like that.
    Bison4ever-I would like to know why EHS and WSHS kids are not included in the new high school plan? I think the entire district high schools should be included in the plan, not just 2.
    The new school isn’t being built large enough to even allow for growth or transfer students.
    Maddog-H.E.R.O. is alive and well!

  • By admin, March 21, 2012 @ 5:21 PM

    Elderton Parent – just a specific note – there is a place in hell for us all without forgiveness and the grace of God through Jesus Christ. I would not wish that on ANY of even my worst enemies. At the foot of the cross, we stand equal… sinners… among which I am the chief sinner. I would prefer that we all not continue to judge anyone on this spiritual plateau. Thanks.

  • By Jan, March 21, 2012 @ 6:14 PM

    @eldertonparent: seriously, you really need to ask why a school isn’t being built for all students in the ASD? You go to the meetings, you know the amount of money left from the $80M bond. To build a bigger school costs more money- money which we don’t have- so how would you like to see this happen? Raise taxes? The majority of people posting here are saying “no more taxes”.
    First you wanted to renovate old buildings and keep all of them open, now you’re saying, we want a bigger school to house all students. Do you really know what you want? WSHS is a newer school, not at full capacity; sending Elderton there makes sense ( as it did several years ago). You can’t have your cake and eat it to. We need to close schools-that is the bottom line. You people seem to think that the kids from Elderton are the only ones traveling. Did it ever occur to you that there are students who attend KHS that live close to the Butler line and Freeport line? They will have to travel too- do you hear them complaining about it? Do you hear anyone from the west complaining about losing their community school? NO. We will actually lose 2 community schools- hear anyone complaining about it? We need to accept the fact that sacrifices need to be made in order to provide our students with a better education in a cost- effective manner. Dayton lost their school and survived, East Brady lost their school and survived as did Worthington. Why do you people feel such entitlement? Oh- oops forgot, there were also 3 elementary buildings in the Kittanning area which were closed. So quit crying over the fact that your school is closing- I’m so sick of hearing all this whining. Get over yourself!
    And for the record- your comment about Mr. Rupp is completely unnecessary. I’m guessing that you’ve never made any mistakes in your life to save you from the depths of hell.Look in a mirror- only judge yourself!

  • By jerry6, March 21, 2012 @ 7:33 PM

    Jan: I agree with everything you said and I have been saying this all along. I went to East Brady and my kids went to Elderton. These other schools were closed and the people survived. For some reason, Elderton thinks they are above everyone else. I have been saying all along that West Shamokin is a pretty new school for the Elderton kids to go to. Like I said before. I never heard anyone complain that West Shamokin kids got a new school The kids from KT should have been going to Kittanning or Ford City all along. It sure is closer than traveling 422 to Elderton. Get over yourselves and accept what is coming. Change is hard to accept but there comes a time when it is necessary to do so. I cannot see putting any money into these old schools. AMEN

  • By annonymous, March 21, 2012 @ 9:22 PM

    @Jan, there are plenty of Kittanning and Ford City parents complaining about it, just not on here. And why is it that anytime an Elderton parent makes a statement on here they are whining. But everyone else can say what they want. Sounds to me like you are very anti-Elderton. You also need to look in the mirror and stop judging others.

  • By nonamerequired, March 21, 2012 @ 9:42 PM

    asdgrad- Nothing is early in this process. This is a high impact, fast moving project if ever I saw one. That’s exactly what this board wants, people to sit back and wait. By the time anyone is aware of what is going on, it will be too late to speak your opinion. An opinion, I might add, that should be allowed as a taxpayer footing the bill.

  • By nonamerequired, March 21, 2012 @ 10:10 PM

    Elliot- Can you please give the taxpayers the numbers behind closing Elderton and KT?   I would like to see fairly accurate numbers as to how these closures will balance the budget.  If the hearing is Monday, those numbers surely have been attained and studied so that the decision could be made.  Surely something concrete has steered the board towards this approach to balancing the budget.  Also, what will new busing cost next year for the change?  Since KT kids will most likely be going to Lenape, will any teachers need to be added? Or janitors, or support staff, or any other position?  Where will the Lifeskills kids go? Will the taxpayer’s have to keep paying for the utilities at EHS since they are connected to the Elementary?  If all of these things haven’t been taken into consideration yet, and the study continues, are you saying if the numbers don’t jive that the board could vote no to the closure in June?  If that is the case, why isn’t the hearing for all the schools to close, then have the three month period in which to find the school who’s closing would  save the most and go that route?  Why only KT and EHS on the fiscal chopping block?  And before anyone bothers to waste time typing about the “entitlement” perspective, its not that.  It makes good, fiscal sense to sacrifice the school(s) that will save the most.  Show us the numbers as to support this direction.  Numbers don’t necessarily mean how many children attend a building, because that would obviously change when one school closes and those kids are added to another. Teachers, busing, support, janitors, salaries, utilities etc. is what I am asking for.  Thank you.  

  • By JornJensen, March 21, 2012 @ 10:23 PM

    Jan – Agree on your statement, “The majority of people posting on here are saying, “No more taxes”.” I addition to that, reduce taxes! You tell me that can’t be done. Are we that much more wealthy than folks in Butler County that we can afford to pay near twice in taxes for comparable properties? No, I’m not moving to Butler County – I’d rather stay here and fight the fight.

  • By nonamerequired, March 21, 2012 @ 11:06 PM

    Ok, Jan, so everything you say makes some sort of sense if I don’t think too hard about it.  But I have to ask only because I missed the release of this info, what exactly is the “better education”?  I want to know what a new school will do to benefit the children, as far as curriculum is concerned.  Curriculum is school district wide, however, if a class is wanted, it has costs associated with it.  That will remain the same way for a new school, and will still hinder possibilities, since we are broke, and getting deeper into the red daily.  Also, since my children will be practically forced into West Shamokin, can I expect the same “better education” there, as well?  Everyone can do the math, after the school is built there will be little room left for transfers.  Maybe 40+-.  How will that help educate all children in this one for all, and all for one school district?  Also, if the new school is being built at near capacity to begin with, how will this help growth in the area and stimulate population and the economy?  It is true you are losing schools, in 4, 5, (?) years when the new one is built.  Pretend all you want that it’s the same, but it’s not the same as pushing for a closure of KT and EHS within 4 months of taking a seat on the board, all the while running on a platform of “thinking of all options”. (Amy Lhote called the school “mythical” on May 10, 2011, and on May 9, 2011 Lobby said “that the voters can see that the (previous) board is trying to force them to choose between two very unpalatable options. I believe the voters realize that there are more than two choices. Life is not black and white”.  Wow.  Mix black and white and you get gray, which is how everything looks without the release of any information.  As far as you losing three elementaries,  would this be when they closed North Buffalo and East Franklin in order to attend a NEW school?  Correct me if you are talking about other school closures.   Do you have any idea that this isn’t an entitlement approach the people are feeling?  Its a “my tax dollars are being used for yet another school that we DON’T want, it is being forced upon us, our children will most likely not be able to  attend, and we have NO VOICE in the matter”.  The only entitlement I see here is my one to an opinion.

  • By Lisa, March 22, 2012 @ 9:16 AM

    GetSmart,Bison4ever,asdgrad- Your posts above are all about moving this district together and looking forward to the future and how those that will now attend West Shamokin should not be complaining because it is a fairly new building. To that i would ask each of you- which school will your children attend? – the new school that will have a capacity level of 1775 or West Shamokin with a capacity of 715? We all know that there will be more opportunities given to the new school than the small school. The home owners that pay taxes and live within the radius of the small school will now face a decline in property value. The 7 on the board that are considering this new school say they are building it for growth, but yet they are only building it for 35 additional students. I don’t see how building this school that only benefits the western side will add growth to the entire district. No one would want to buy or build a home if they live on the eastern side of this district. To me this is not moving forward for all. The district does not stop at Barkers Appliance on 422.
    Jan- Your posts above state how Worthington, Dayton and East Brady have all lost their schools but yet they are ok. My question to you would be- How did that help the ASD? These schools have all been closed but yet this entire disrict is not in any better shape educationally or finacially then it was when these schools were open. in fact, the district is in worse shape now. Jan you say you are sick of the whining and to get over it. Easy for you to say if you live within the radius of the new school. I do live in the attendance area that will now go to the small school which is West Shamokin, I do not feel “entitled” as you put it. I want equal opportunities offered to all that live in this district. The sacrafices that are being made by some should be looked at in more detail. The only students that are being sacraficed are really those in the Elderton Attendance area. These students are being split with most attending a school that doesn’t have any more opportunities than they have now. Why don’t we have some Kittaning or Ford City students sent to West Shamokin to help out with the under utilized situation that you talk about? Then every area would be sacraficing something for the good of the district. I have been wondering why we have not heard from the people from Kittanning and Ford City yet. Especially on the topic of sports. The board stated at several meetings that the sport fields will have to come at a later date and will not be looked at until the building and education are put inorder first. Which fields will be used that will now be big enough for the combination of these schools? Not to mention having room for the spectators from these areas. Please don’t tell me that I am stiring the pot. This is a concern. Education better come first before anything else. Just so you know Jan, i am not crying over losing a school in my attendance area. The points i have made are all about having equal opportunities for all. The current 7 board members and Dr. Chapp didn’t look at any of those options that would have helped this district move forward as one. Taxes will go up for this school and the western side of this district will benefit. It is just a matter of time. I will be surprised if any of the 7 will even have a seat on the board when this time comes. They will probably opt out as soon as the doors open for the new school. Leaving us all with higher taxes and a declining attendance area on the eastern side.

  • By Elderton Parent, March 22, 2012 @ 9:39 AM

    Seriously Jan, do you really think that taxes are not going to be raised to build this new school? Wake up because it will happen!
    I do want buildings renovated, but with the current board, that’s not going to happen. So now I have to go with the lesser of the evils (is that ok to say Admin?)
    If this new school houses only part of the district, the issue will continue on forever. The segregation will always be there.
    Kittanning Township is not included in the changes for EHS to WSHS. Those kids will go to Lenape Elementary and then to the new high school. Have any of these parents been informed about any of this? I bet not.
    With closing these schools, what exactly is going to be done in order to provide our students with a better education in a cost-effective manner?
    You are right in the fact that there have been many schools closed in ASD – what has changed to better education students? NOTHING!
    There were plenty of people that have fought along the way to keep their community schools open. So, like it or not, It’s my right to fight for our community school.
    We all are entitled to our opinion whether you like it or not.

  • By Jan, March 22, 2012 @ 5:01 PM

    @elderton parent: With a due respect, you ask me if I really think taxes won’t go up with a new school and my response to that is:did you not think taxes would go up by spending the $80M to renovate? What makes that different?
    You asked what has changed since some of the other schools have closed- I guess I would have to say that I’m sure many things changed for them- one thing being money was saved by closing these schools. As I look back on the time when KHS/FC consolidated, the students had more options for course sections- meaning that they didn’t have to pick and choose between courses to take because of the periods that classes were held- students were able to take most of the classes they wanted. The cost effectiveness will come by cutting staff- no need for duplication of services. Less need for administration, guidance counselors and staff. The list goes on. Those of you in the Elderton attendance area never really got a chance to see what opportunities your students would have because they were only there one year. Like anything, kinks have to be ironed out.
    @Lisa: You talk about the growth of the area or lack of- the 2010 census shows little to no growth in certain areas. It is true that there is more growth on the western side of the county- my guess this has something to do with infrastructure and easy access to RT.28. Since it is the most densely populated area, the majority of tax dollars comes from the west- so when you all talk about having to pay taxes for the “other side” to have a new school- we’ve been doing this for years. Our tax dollars have helped to keep the smaller schools open. And for the record- while I’m paying more and more taxes,the value of my home has declined- just like yours and everyone else. Don’t blame the district for this totally. You asked what changed when Worthington, East Brady and Dayton closed- my educated guess would be that there was a cost savings to the district. Less staffing, maintenance to old buildings,etc. Again- I will use the analogy that I’ve been using for the past year or so. If I own two homes, the cost is going to be greater for me than owning one. I have one mortgage, less utilities to pay, one set of taxes, and so on. So, is it cheaper for me to own one or two homes?
    We can’t predict the future- at this point, enrollment is on the decline ( for various reasons)the economy took a nose dive and we are seeing budget cuts in education. We have got to do what others are doing in consolidating schools. It’s not a popular discussion but sometimes, we have to bite the bullet and let it happen. You ask for equal opportunities for your children- let me ask you this: prior to the discussion on building a new school- were you satisfied with your children’s education? If the answer is “yes” what changed for your children other than an other area is going to get a new school just like WSHS got— and guess what? We were happy for you! Great to see a new building in this district. As per fields: when KHS/FC consolidated,the Kittg. field was used for varsity football and the FC field was used for junior high- no big deal. I had kids in school at that time and they were fine and adjusted to the newness. I’m pro sports in school however, education comes first. I don’t care where they play ball.
    @Jorn: Butler taxes are lower than ours- the reason for this is that they have much more business and industry to support the lower taxes/school district.
    I’m so done with this!

  • By billbell, March 22, 2012 @ 7:05 PM

    Of course taxes will be raised! Why? Mostly because of the ignorance of the former board majority. By lowering taxes to a level which deemed operations of the district unsustainable, they pretty much insured that no matter what, a new board would have to raise taxes just to meet an operational budget. This tax refund, which was given by the teachers, not the school board, is revenue forever lost- even if taxes would be raised the maximum amount allowed without a referendum, they still would not make up what was given away.

    When nearly every school district in the state had increasing operational costs and the specter of rising retirement contributions, that board majority thumbed its nose at reality and rolled back the revenue stream knowing full well that their days were numbered because the majority of people in the district were no longer going to accept what they were doing to the school system. Even if the old board majority stayed in power and went through with renovations, they too would have had to raise taxes to operate.

    And spare me the thinking that they had a plan to pay for everything. That board majority was absolutely corrupt and in total collusion with powers that wanted to see the demise of the entire district for the benefit of a few in a backyard school.

    The people spoke and got rid of solak, stitt, kozuch and company. Mr. Smeltzer should follow yassems lead resign immediately from this board. How can he represent this district when he endeavors to leave it?

  • By Elliot, March 22, 2012 @ 9:28 PM

    EldertonParent –

    Of course you disagree – I’d expect nothing less. Let me ask you this: if we didn’t have the bond issue to deal with, do you think this new board would be intending to close Elderton? Of course they would. The reasons for closure are even stronger today than they were in 2009 – new school or not. But be my guest, take your 10 minutes on Monday to ramble on about the new “superschool,” Terry Rupp, Jeff Pyle, Don White, and the Cookie Monster.

  • By Elliot, March 22, 2012 @ 9:56 PM


    “By the time anyone is aware of what is going on, it will be too late to speak your opinion.”

    If anyone is actually unaware of what is going on, they should probably just keep their opinion to themselves. There is no excuse for not knowing; in this environment, not knowing is the same as not caring. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t care enough to educate yourself, I don’t want to hear your complaints.

    “Can you please give the taxpayers the numbers behind closing Elderton and KT?”

    No, I can’t. But I expect, the same as you do, that the board should be able to substantiate this move with some numbers. If you think this is being done simply because Kittanning people hate Elderton people, you need to dial back your ego a few notches – I’d say most people have a lot better things with which to occupy their minds.

    You ask a lot of very specific questions about projected savings. I expect that the administration is working on these figures.

    “…are you saying if the numbers don’t jive that the board could vote no to the closure in June?”

    Yes. If they can’t project savings, it would be stupid to close Elderton and KT.

    “…why isn’t the hearing for all the schools to close, then have the three month period in which to find the school who’s closing would save the most and go that route? Why only KT and EHS on the fiscal chopping block?”

    Because they are the least populated buildings. Sometimes common sense is enough. However, I am not completely opposed to your train of thought. I would also like the board to consider further consolidations if they would further reduce costs.

  • By Elliot, March 22, 2012 @ 10:03 PM

    Jorn –

    Jan is right about Butler County (and I assume you know that). We have virtually no industry here to help support public services, therefore it all falls on the property owners. Butler County, on the other hand, was better off even before the Cranberry boom. We desperately need county commissioners and state representatives who know how to lure business here. More importantly, we need locals who don’t oppose everything that comes along. The school board needs to do their part and make sure we contain costs and put forth facilities that aren’t 40 years behind our neighbors.

  • By Elliot, March 22, 2012 @ 10:13 PM

    nonamerequired –

    “my tax dollars are being used for yet another school that we DON’T want, it is being forced upon us, our children will most likely not be able to attend, and we have NO VOICE in the matter”.

    How do you have less of a voice than I do? Or Jan, or anyone? I only got to cast one vote last year. YOU are part of a SCHOOL DISTRICT that encompasses areas outside of ELDERTON. These areas are MORE DENSELY POPULATED and contribute MORE TAX DOLLARS than your area. You are a very small fraction of the larger unit. You are in the minority. Many, many, many people disagree with you and THEIR collective opinion will rule the day. It’s called the democratic process. I don’t recall President Obama asking for my individual opinion on national heath care and saying, “Well, you’re in the minority, but we’ll certainly accommodate your wishes.”

  • By JornJensen, March 22, 2012 @ 10:35 PM

    Jan – Agreed – lower taxes brings business and industry – to Butler County. Therefore, there’s more paying in, so there’s less for each to have to pay. That’s how it works – elsewhere.

    I like Armstrong County – it is a beautiful area. I agree with you – don’t look for growth here or a need, anytime soon, for bigger schools to enroll more students. Even the latest promising thing, the Marcellus gas is being poo-poo’ed by some due to the great unknown fear of fracking. Coal is down, people are laying off.

    Elliot – You okay with what I’ve stated?

  • By Elliot, March 22, 2012 @ 10:46 PM

    Lisa –

    “The district does not stop at Barkers Appliance on 422.”

    No, but it does get pretty sparsely populated. There is a reason why WalMart will not build a store in Dayton, and the taxpayers of ASD do not owe ANY town a school to make that town viable or prop up home values. You chose to live in a sparsely populated area; you should have been cognizant of the risks that come with that. I’m not trying to be nasty – these are just facts of living in a capitalistic society.

    “These schools [Worthington, etc.] have all been closed but yet this entire disrict is not in any better shape educationally or finacially then it was when these schools were open. in fact, the district is in worse shape now.”

    How so? How can you honestly think that we wouldn’t be worse off running three additional high schools today? Anyway, those schools were closed over many, many years, so the fact that we are worse off today cannot even remotely be attributed to closure of those schools. Do you even know how today’s economy compares to that of the 1980’s or 90’s?

    Everyone who fought to have Elderton renovated justified it by saying that it hadn’t been touched since the early 1980’s. They weren’t concerned that it was so much smaller than the other schools, they just wanted something newer. Now, West Shamokin, a 10 year old school, superior to a renovated Elderton, is not good enough, just because Kittanning/FC will get a newer school. Not too long ago this HUGE district was way too big for a single high school. Now they want it at whatever cost. There is no credibility in that kind of flip-flopping.

  • By GetSmart, March 22, 2012 @ 10:48 PM

    @ Lisa

    I have no school age children – but I bet I pay a lot more in school taxes than people in Elderton with the same size house.

    You are saying the people of Elderton prefer less educational opportunities in exchange for smaller class size?

  • By Elliot, March 22, 2012 @ 10:52 PM

    Elderton Parent-

    “Have any of these parents been informed about any of this? I bet not.”

    Of course not. Nothing has been decided yet. What exactly should they be informed of? “Dear Parent, Uh, yeah, there’s a possibility that maybe we might consider moving your child from this school to that school in, uh, about three years. But we don’t know for sure, and things might change, or well, we’ll let you know once we figure it all out, uh, that is if everthing gets approved.”

    “With closing these schools, what exactly is going to be done in order to provide our students with a better education in a cost-effective manner?”

    Hey, I’d settle for SAME education in a MORE cost-effective manner (as a first step).

  • By wakeup, March 22, 2012 @ 11:48 PM

    How low does the student population in Elderton need to drop before it no longer makes sense to operate that school? Should that same number be used to open schools back up that we’re once closed?

    I am curious if worthington high school would have greater attendance than Elderton with more school age children?

  • By Lancret, March 23, 2012 @ 6:11 AM

    Isn’t funny and ironic that the more I read the posts by Elliot, the more I don’t trust this current board. Things are now being perceived as being very “slick.”

    Once again, this is all spin.

    Although I support an all-district consolidated senior high school, but I got a feeling we better hang on to our wallets. Crooked land deals, hidden expenses, etc.

  • By jerry6, March 23, 2012 @ 8:19 AM

    I personally know of a lot of familys from KT who was aginst closing Elderton when there kids had to go to Ford City. But, after they went to Ford City, these kids did not want to go back to Elderton. They had no transportation to get to Ford City. I also had a girl who is from Ford City who went to school with these kids from KT who said these kids do not want to go back to Elderton. Solak and company made sure there were enough kids to help Elderton with there attendence to help Elderton have a few more kids. I think if the parents would let the kids alone, these kids adjust very well to a new school.

  • By Elliot, March 23, 2012 @ 8:25 AM


    I agree with your statements. While Marcellus gas is the best reason for economic optimism in my lifetime, I don’t advocate overbuilding a school because of it. I need to see more money flowing and evidence of new investment before I ignore 40 years of population decline.

    I will say, however, that I haven’t yet jumped on the “coal is dead” bandwagon. We still need it, no matter what the environmentalists say. In the summer of 2008 (I think), Rosebud cut jobs and then hired back even more a few months later.

  • By Elliot, March 23, 2012 @ 8:31 AM


    Good point. To help answer the question of what the “right number” is, Worthington had a graduating class of 27 in 1983. It was closed in 1984.

  • By JornJensen, March 23, 2012 @ 9:52 AM

    Elliot – Correct, that Jan is correct about Butler County and you are correct in your assumption that I do know that, and I agree with the rest of your statement in that post.

    So, with Butler County so close, and probably a great role model, why can’t we learn something from them over here in Armstrong County? Yes, I know the commissioners have created the position to go after business and industry – that is a step in the right direction. What about meeting with Butler County commissioners?

    Back a while ago was the discussion on Caterpillar coming to Armstrong County. Not. Nor would they go to Butler County and for the same reasons that I’ve stated in the past that have ruffled the feathers of our union friends – right-to-work states are getting the big players wanting to lower their costs.

    But, Butler County is doing something else right – what is that?

  • By wakeup, March 23, 2012 @ 3:14 PM

    Butler County has lower taxes and a better school system BECAUSE IT IS NOT A BATTLE FIELD. How more plainly can I state this…Given the choice parents will not relocate children into this dysfunctional school district. As an outsider given the choice would you?

    As far as industry moving to a town and the area magically booms over night; it rarely happens that way in today’s world. A lot of people in Armstrong County have this mentality that governs their policy and it clearly is not working. Look at Ford City…the area is politically corrupt over the “goldmine property” along the river that truthfully no one would want. Unless you need river access why would you put industry there? Accessibility?

    Growth comes more slowly as a result of families relocating to an area with low taxes, a good school system and easy access to major arteries. It is this environment that in turn stimulates business/industries to spring up to support the population growth. This in turn will lead to JOBS and a larger tax base. Cranberry Twp. is a great example, this area did not boom because of industry. In fact industry sprung up because families saw it as a good place to live and it grew over time. Industry like Westinghouse with thousands of jobs eventually relocated there for these very reasons. If you are moving thousands of employees to an area what would be important to you? Tax breaks, sure, but high on that list is a top rate area that attracts top rate talent!

    You would be hard pressed to find an area in Western PA that is growing solely due to industry moving there first. How did that Sony thing work out for New Stanton? There are however, plenty of case studies of areas that are growing because families move there for low taxes, good school systems, and easy access to major arteries. Peters Twp., Mars, South Fayette, Cannon Macmillan and even Freeport (look at this area in 10 years). All areas experiencing growth and lower taxes than ASD as families locate there and service industry springs up to support them.

    Of the thousand of families that moved here from other states due to the gas industry how many locate their families to Armstrong County versus neighboring counties like these?

    You want the high income families that build $250k to $500k value homes and pay high taxes…those people are very much interested in schools and I am sorry but the decade old battle within Armstrong School District just does not cut it. So you want lower taxes stop arguing over “schools” and start attracting people to increase the tax base.

  • By wakeup, March 23, 2012 @ 3:17 PM

    Lets go further ….. with 28 finally opening up…is Armstrong County prepared to attract families to relocate there and work towards the city?

    I understand “politically” the “west side” of the county is taboo to many but if this area really wants to get serious and attract the people that will pay the kind or taxes needed to get this area back on track put the school near the intersection of 28 and 422. Look at it this way, Armstrong County is in completion for the tax base that is attracted to Freeport and may work from home or down 28. What is going to draw a family 15 minutes north to Armstrong County? There kids in a school 15 – 20 minutes further east?

    As far as those that currently live in the east…..expand West Shamokin to equal the new school on the West Side. Two equal in capacity high schools on equally opposite ends of the county, West Armstrong High School and East Armstrong High School. Then you can have your community Elementary schools feeding these two High Schools.

    I mean logically does it really make sense to have both high schools on the east side? If the area does see growth were would that growth be, near Indiana or near Bulter County Line? Busing is a huge cost so why bus everyone from the west to the east? That’s right politically we have to keep certain people happy that have a complex about the “West Hills”? Come on people get over your selves and start making prudent decisions!

  • By Tankster, March 23, 2012 @ 4:54 PM

    Butler County has alot of unionized jobs and one of the best per capita in the Commonwealth and they are also in top percentile of bringing in new business compared to other counties. It is not unionized labor keeping Armstrong County behind. That is failed logic. If that were true, businesses would be moving out of Butler County not into it.

  • By GetSmart, March 23, 2012 @ 5:29 PM

    I believe East Brady consistantly had larger graduating classes when it was closed than what Elderton now has.

  • By worthingtonman, March 23, 2012 @ 5:47 PM

    Butler county is heading down the same road that Armstrong is. Fortunately they have Armco to help. But they have been losing a lot of power play industry. In East Butler alone Magnetics is just a shadow of what it used to be. Cattle Rubbernis gone also. There are many more if you looked into. The School district does better because they have one high school and one junior high. But even the have been suffering from lower enrollment. They used to graduate1200 or more kids. They are now down around 900. They are probably going to have to start looking at consolidating elementary schools.

  • By Lancret, March 23, 2012 @ 7:23 PM


    You stated exactly what we do not need. You said it eloquently.

    We do not need to try and push one area to become prosperous while sacrificing the other parts of the county or district.

    A well-rounded county is what will turn around Armstrong County.

    They tried pushing the West Hills goobedly-gook for 30 years now and it has went nowhere.

    Make the county attractive as a whole and invest in infrastructure and opportunities in more than area.

    You could not have a better case of why your theory about West Hills is failed logic for the ENTIRE county.

    Thank you.

  • By Lancret, March 23, 2012 @ 7:27 PM


    And if you want an example to support my theory…look no further than Northpointe. West side of river……grand access to Route 28. Kids could be schooled at Freeport not necessarily Armstrong.

    Total failure. Why? It meets all your criteria. Throwing more money into the west side of the river will do nothing for economic growth. Most of the county needs a makeover. Dumping more money into the West Hills dream is just sacrificing one area for all of the rest based on greed.

  • By worthingtonman, March 23, 2012 @ 7:44 PM

    If there is so much west side of the river envy, don’t people just move there. It is so tiring people complain about things on the west side of the river and nothing on the east. It is a river for Christ sakes. Maybe a 1/16th of a mile? who the he’ll cares if you drive 5 mins to work or an hour. North point was placed where it is because #1 the land was cheap and # 2 the access to 28. why in the world would you build a new 4 Lane highway to put something along 422w. I live on the west side of the river and drive. 1/2 hour to work. Big deal. It gets so ridiculous to hear about the whining over which side of the river something goes on.

  • By wakeup, March 23, 2012 @ 8:14 PM

    Sir lancerlot- THE ENTIRE COUNTY HAS GONE NOWHERE thanks to people like minded as you! In fact every area has declined but the area were 422 and 28 meet! The biggest thing to come to this area in past 30 years was Walmart…wonder why they did not choose down town ford city or ” the easily accessible area near Lenape property! Come on man stop with the envy and pride and use some logic. Put youself in the shoes of people you want to attract to share in the tax burden!

  • By wakeup, March 23, 2012 @ 10:18 PM

    Northpointe is a business park not a housing development? I am talking about attracting families that make good money and live in nice houses that pay a lot of taxes and either commute to work, travel for work or work from home. The idea of attracting industry you have to give a incentive of little to no taxes is not going to help bring down taxes. So I guess I missed your point on that one.

  • By JornJensen, March 24, 2012 @ 11:01 AM

    Worthingtonman – You are correct that Butler is headed down our route – Spang (Magnetics), the rubber rolls people, Servi-Star Distribution Center and others – but Cranberry and Wexford are doing just fine, and without looking it up on a map, I believe those are both in Butler County and they grew by avoiding the Allegheny County higher-than-anybody taxes (remember the Onorato drink tax? And he wanted to be governor? Voters took care of that in a hurry), yet was close to ‘the city’. Same for the Freeport point – that’s Butler County and that’s where the new houses and development are, and easy access to 28 and ‘the city’. Agree, thank goodness for AK still being there – they haven’t packed up and gone on down the road.

    The point is, high taxes keep people away. So, for those who want more and more handed to them by the government, the time comes to pay the piper in the form of higher taxes.

    One of my favorite cases-in-point is the new EOC building that we’re mandated to have by some government agency. We have plenty of empty buildings that we could put that function into and save taxpayers money, but no, it will be a brand-new Al-Queda-proof building at the taxpayers’ expense. No matter who mandates it, even if money comes with the mandate, it’s the taxpayer that coughs up the money. Like Murtha amphitheater.

    Elliot – Nowhwere did I state’over-building a school is justified on Marcellus gas’ – I hope you didn’t read my comment that way. We’re already in so deep, that my comment is that the gas is holding the most promise to get us from so much negative to level (zero) – to grow to the plus side of the equation would be excellent, but we still need to get back up to zero. Agree, coal is not dead.

    Tankster – Nowhere did I state that unionized labor is keeping work out of Armstrong County – hope you didn’t read that into my question regarding why Butler County is doing better than us. David Wolfe tried to bring in the mirror company from Brackenridge – the old LOF mirror company – unionized – to Northpointe. Armstrong County management blew that one – they wouldn’t negotiate. I understand that Northpointe needs sold ‘higher-end’ so as to not cheat those that have already paid highly into it, but these are times for tough decisions, not times for ‘going by the rulebook’.

    Regarding building a new school in the west idea, you all present good pros and cons. I’ll just say that Wal*Mart built their initial store, and now their Super Wal*Mart, in a known location – those people do a lot of high-end research in making their decisions to locate a ‘building’. They wouldn’t have added onto an existing building if it wasn’t a good location choice in the first place. Question becomes – go to West Kittanning Wal*Mart or Indiana Wal*Mart? Or other ones? Or, not at all.

  • By Jerri, March 24, 2012 @ 11:59 AM

    GetSmart-Please provide the data for your statement concerning East Brady and their graduating classes. Do you know that the graduating class at Elderton is almost the same size as West Shamokin this year and almost double from last year? Maybe if this nonsensical “build a new school and they will come” attitude wasn’t around and we had stability for our students, we wouldn’t have to be discussing small graduating classes.

    Did it ever occur to anyone that the simplest way to solve the problems would be to keep and reasonably renovate the schools we own, close the Kittanning Junior High, and change lines across the district thus relieving crowded classrooms and fully utilizing the buildings we have without destroying communities? Oh wait, a Kittanning kid may have to move and we all know this is board would never allow that.

    Lancret-Exactly. Northpointe was one of the biggest mistakes this county ever did. Taking the IUP out of Kittanning along with the college students and all the money a college can bring to a town was ridiculous. Look at who owned the Northpointe property first. Look at when they bought that property and when Northpointe was built. It’s the same people that have financial interest in the West Hills dream and the possible donated property for the new school. Speaking of the new school, I found an interview with Amy Lhote while running for school board. She told Jennifer Willyard in the interview on a certain website that a new school hadn’t been discussed since the 2007 charette and called it the “mythical new school”. Now she wants to close schools and build the new school in less than two months discussion. Good job, Amy.

  • By Jerri, March 24, 2012 @ 12:13 PM

    GetSmart-I just read your statement that you pay a lot more for school taxes than a person in Elderton with the same size house!!! Are you kidding me??? Are you that stupid? Yes I’m sorry but that is probably one of the most stupid statements I have ever seen on this board. I am sure you are saying your assessed value may be more but if that is the case, that is because you are living in the only part of the district that’s been catered to by the idiots that have been in charge of this district for too long. That means, you have an over-priced elementary school, a possible new high school, the hospital, the mighty Walmart, and other conveniences near you. If that is the case, then you are paying for that. To make a statement such as people in Elderton don’t pay the same as you is ridiculous and arrogant. You are as bad as the boy from East Franklin that dated my cousin’s daughter. He walked in their house and told her “wow, I didn’t know people from Elderton could have such nice houses.” True story. My cousin said “Well, the truth is, that we don’t really own this house. It’s our rich relatives from Kittanning that take pity on us and let us live here in the winter because the dirt floor in our shack is cold this time of year!” Honestly, knock off the superiority and get your facts straight. Did you ever see an actual Elderton person’s tax bill for a similar home? I bet not.

    You are a perfect example of the lunacy of the People for Progress’s attitude. I have a copy of their mission statement where these snobs actually say that studies show businesses move to places where people make more than $60K per year and people that make more than $60K per year will move here if we build a new school. It also goes on that the average ASD household makes around $37K per year. This was while they were campaigning for Rearic and Choncek and the new school board is People for Progress supporters. Amy Lhote said in testimony posted on the ASD website that she and Gretchen Dosch did the legwork for People for Progress. Yes, they are totally in touch with the average taxpayer. No, they just want the typical ASD riffraff out so they can have “their type of people” here.

  • By Jerri, March 24, 2012 @ 12:25 PM

    In all the posts I’ve read I forgot who posted about the teacher contract and Close, Choncek, and Rearic voting on it. It is correct that this contract was used as the model for other teachers negotiating because it was so lucrative for the teacher’s union. That’s the same reason why the AEA sent out a letter to all teachers living in the district regardless of what district they taught in to support the Silent Six during election (Rearic, Choncek, Lobby, Robb, Berdell, and Lhote). The union leaders (Burkett, Scaife, Huffman, etc.) wanted a board in their pocket for next teacher negotiations, which will be coming up soon. They also support one high school because those in charge know that they can sell the false concept of saving money and thus not take so much heat for the huge increases and pension they can secure. The ones negotiating have enough tenure that their jobs are safe. Look at how Burkett retired after the teachers union, ahem, so generously offered nice retirement packages in order to save some teachers job when the last school board cut about 60 employees.

    As I said before, Berdell has a blabber mouth. Just wait until you see the new school board member they’ve picked. A former teacher from West Shamokin. Just in time for the teachers contract. Their five minute interviews with all candidates next Thursday is just a formality. And speaking of which, the five-minute interview process shows this board doesn’t even feel this position is worthy of taking the time to actually interview. It’s the same as Lobby sending out an email that he feels 10 minutes is a long time for people to speak at the joke of a hearing on Monday night. I hope people from Ford City, West Shamokin, Kittanning High
    Schools all realize that Monday night is the ONLY opportunity that will count to speak to keep their schools open. By the time they have closure hearings for those schools, it will be just a technicality. The mighty Snyder High will be built.

  • By Lancret, March 25, 2012 @ 5:46 PM

    Thanks, Jorn for answering the questions at hand.

    I understand your premise with Wal-Mart but it is the only department store around here…it would not make sense to “not” add on to it. What are the other options?

    I think you understand that the rest of the county is going into the dumpster real quick and dumping money and infrastructure into the west side of the river has not stopped it in fact has gotten worse.

    We need to look for several areas to sprout some growth and like Jorn, make it more business friendly.

    You can call it whining or telling the truth, it is not envy. Sometimes the truth hurts, but the west side revival has been a complete failure. There are many different perspectives and assumptions as to why this has occurred, but I do not know if we will ever know the whole truth of the matter.

    As for the snide remark about the Lenape property….that was the opinion of the former superintendent who did have a progressive outlook for the school district.

    “…wonder why they did not choose down town ford city or ” the easily accessible area near Lenape property!

    Look at the malice in this statement.

    Now, do we really have to wonder why things cannot get completed in this district?

    It is winner take all and who cares about the rest even if common sense could prevail.

  • By JornJensen, March 25, 2012 @ 7:29 PM

    Lancret – Good points. Wal*Mart will do well where it is – there really aren’t any other great options – was going to come out Worthington-way, but that fell through. And I agree with you, the west hasn’t ‘saved’ Armstrong County. That’s why I support David Wolfe’s effort to bring in the old LOF mirror outfit and discount the site for them – it would have been one more tenant/employer in Northpointe. And, yes, I’m not a democrat – that should be pretty obvious by my leanings on this site. Beautiful 4 lane 65 mph road south to a congested mess – easy access to ‘the city’ for Armstrong Countyians looking for work. I look at Butler County’s lower taxes and Worthingtonman is correct – they’re headed down the same road as Armstrong County. It is very competitive, today, to bring in ‘work’, manufacturing or whatever, so it takes some really sharp people in government to differentiate Armstrong County from other areas.

    Jerri – You’ve been really busy above – lot of good information. On your 11:59 AM, if we brought in work and lowered taxes, they will come. Building a new school or remodeling ALL old ones won’t bring them, especially if taxes rise more.

    The downside to keeping even some of the old schools is accessability as Elliot has stated – that is a strong point.

    People making both over and under $60k, if they have any sense at all, will price tax costs on comparable properties, county by county, and then select where they want to live and drive to/from. The mortgage eventually goes away, the taxes just go up, so it is the taxes that one has to be weary of.

    I was particularly disappointed to read your statement that the present school board has already hand-picked a retired teacher for Sara Yassam’s seat – this would further worsen the results of her departure – I still say that was a mistake on her part. I had planned to submit my name to a sitting judge for that seat since I felt that this board is not qualified to interview me and assuming that the school board would not get a person that fast, but I guess that I should have known better – that ‘hand-picking’ an occupant for that seat would be a high priority. I still think the State needs to get involved with this mess and put the clamps down.

    If there isn’t a teacher pay/benefits cut in this next contract, then they’ll just price themselves further out onto a weak limb if we had a strong school board.

  • By nonamerequired, March 25, 2012 @ 9:26 PM

    Elliot- Your statement is very telling…”But we don’t know for sure, and things might change, or well, we’ll let you know once we figure it all out, uh, that is if everthing gets approved.”. Not telling anyone a thing until after it’s approved, and any voice we may have is lost, seems par for the course.  I would say input from the public isn’t much of a consideration from this board anymore.  That sounds almost the opposite of what then candidate Chris Choncek said on May 11, 2011:  

    “Parents and taxpayers are becoming more engaged with school district business. They are holding the Armstrong School Board more accountable to its decisions and direction. It’s especially encouraging to see this in all areas of the school district, not just in one municipality or attendance area. It is my hope as we move forward that we can continue to keep the community engaged and seek their input as we try to improve the education in our district while still being responsible to the taxpayers.”

  • By nonamerequired, March 25, 2012 @ 9:44 PM

    Jorn- You hit the nail on the head with the whole WalMart theory, however, maybe not the one people automatically assume.  The big corporation that is taking over America, providing garbage at low, low prices will be the death of us.  It will take innovative, think outside the box people and government to get this country and county back on track.  Starting at the local level right on up.  We need to attract businesses that make products for Americans by Americans.  We can pay more for American made because we get paid more to make it.  In our communities!!  Getting back to basics on all fronts will be necessary to see any positive change.  Now, I don’t think this will be accomplished by the time the school board slides their new plans in, but it has to start somewhere.  People argue of the good WalMart does, providing jobs and “goods” at low prices, but does that justify our demise?  Sounds like another arguement people are having on this disussion board. The big picture people are claiming “Elderton” people aren’t seeing, is much, much bigger than even what “they” claim to see.  I use quotations because I wish we could all be one, but life isn’t a John Lennon song.

    Now, how to accomplish that?  I’m thinking.

  • By GetSmart, March 25, 2012 @ 11:05 PM

    @ Jerri

    I will give your the graduating class sizes at East Brady, but the point is, it was CLOSED, just like Dayton and Worthington. Elderton should be closed for the same reasons.

    The only “if you build it they will come” attitude is in your imagination. That is not the reason for building a new school. It is a combination of eduaction and economics and efficiencies. Small graduating classes are more expensive to support.

    I have no clue who the People for Progress are, nor do I let any group influence my satatements. I am not an advocate for building in the West Hills. I am an advocate of building in a geographically central location. I am an advocate of the efficiences of closing 4 schools.

    A house the same size as mine in Elderton is not taxed the same as mine, and I am OK with that. I choose to live where I do.

    Seems like your anger prevents you from being rational.

  • By wakeup, March 26, 2012 @ 12:33 AM

    Lancret- those that have kids in the school system are passionate about were they want the school…I understand this. For the rest of us we should be simply looking to see it is placed based on statistics not emotion to keep taxes low and attract families to share in the tax burden. If that means putting it in East Brady I truthfully could care less. All I am saying is to have two high schools on the eastern side of the county does not make sense in regards to population, busing or costs. If you want just one high school then a school on 422 west or by Lenape may make most sense.

    I think my orignal point was lost which is two equal in size and stature schools, one in the east and one in the west. Just humor me and look at a county wide map. If WSHS is the eastern school and a new school is built somewhere near the mall or hospital would this not best serve the entire county in regards to distance for all to the school? Would we not counter some of the objections by having these two sister schools equal in size? Could we not use Kittaning as the dividing line to combat those that say this is just about Kittaning getting the new school? Would we not be able to give equal treatment to all students of the county.

    Regardless of what you think I do not want to come off combative towards you and apologize if I did. It is easy to get caught up in the debate and lose sight of the real goal which is to put an end to this decade after decade old battle. That is really my main objective as I am sure it is for most, the rest is just details.

  • By Kittanning Lady, March 26, 2012 @ 5:32 AM

    The school board has already hand picked a replacement for the vacant position on the school board??? A FORMER SCHOOL TEACHER FROM WESTSHAMOKIN? REALLY!! Jorn I agree with you the state needs to step in.

  • By GetSmart, March 26, 2012 @ 6:07 AM

    @ Jerri:

    A few more comments on your recent posts directed at me.

    Yee, I know what taxes people in Elderton and other rural areas pay pay…the reason for my statement.

    On YOUR STATEMENT “Oh wait, a Kittanning kid may have to move…..” The proposed new school is out of the Kittanning attendance area so EVERY SINGLE JR. HI AND SR. HI STUDENT FROM KITTANNING WILL HAVE TO MOVE!

  • By Lancret, March 26, 2012 @ 6:14 AM

    @ wakeup

    I will ask you, again, about Dr. Kerr’s vision.

    If you are going to put one in the west, then I would really support it to go near the Vo-Tech.

    The architects are attempting to pass it off that there is not enough land at the Lenape site. More and more opinions are coming out saying that this is not true at all. This was something that Solak cooked up to keep the communities schools and now this board is utilizing Solak’s words to push their agenda.

    We can talk about 1 in the East and 1 in the West, 2 in the east and 0 in the West, etc. I think the part that needs addressed is that there is Vo-Tech school in this district with land next to it available. Now, we get to the part of the debate that others like to discuss…..curricula and training for our youth in this district.

    Does making sure each side has a high in their vicinity, or is this about the kids and the educational and training opportunities that they can obtain to prepare themselves for the future?

    Why not put a high school next to the Lenape Vo-Tech? Is it worth doing this for the children? How do the children lose out on this? I have seen both sides of this debate say that taxes are going to be raised, so let’s do it right. I am sure that transportation costs would be cut to an extent. Somebody said on here within the last week that a student could simple walk from one building to the other and be granted many options and opportunities in creating a well-rounded educational experience.

    So, wakeup, I am not into the game, of doling out high schools just to satisfy the wants and needs of adult playing a vicious game of tug-of-war….I support ideas which could cuts costs to an extent and provide the best educational experience and opportunities for the children.

  • By JornJensen, March 26, 2012 @ 7:20 AM

    Wakeup – Interesting idea – two equal-sized schools offering the same education – one existing and being expanded, and one built new. Both would be campus-type schools.

    So, is an expanded West Shamokin acceptable to folks from Elderton? Can we build a new school smaller than current plans, for less money, so that there is money to expand WSHS to the same size?

    If this works for the folks to the east, then it could be a win/win solution.

    nonamerequired – It starts with reading labels – many times, a lower-cost, off-brand, no-name product is actually made in the US and supports our economy.

  • By JornJensen, March 26, 2012 @ 7:21 AM

    Wakeup – Wonder if your idea ever made it to the whiteboard?

  • By asdgrad, March 26, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

    For a one High School District then ok place the school some where in the center, as i said before Kittanning Township the site of the elementary school would work..

    However that is not going to be the case so then ok I agree with who ever says we need to look at a location on the west side of the river, and no I do not say that to favor the Kittanng and Ford City attendance areas. I say that because we see place the school say near the hospital, then we can split the attendance lines in a way that the number of students per High school could be more equal. So then we can have more Equal Education.

    Now I’m ready to stop talking about the building because I have already excepted the fact it is going to be built, there is going to be closure and consolidation between the schools. I’m ready to talk about education now. Education which is the most important.

    However in the mean time we need to push the board into look at sites on the west side of the river so like I said the attendance lines can be split more equally for each school.

    Also I like the names I read on here somewhere whether it was this post or a different one
    Armstrong East and Armstrong West.

  • By fatboyonthehill, March 26, 2012 @ 12:33 PM

    @ Jorn – Wexford is located on Allegheny County. Its really a muncipality as much as it is an area. It resides in Pine Township and McCandless Township.

  • By fatboyonthehill, March 26, 2012 @ 12:35 PM

    @ Jorn – I meant to say not a municipality. However if you want to point out grown in Southern Butler County adjacent to Cranberry I will point out Adams Township (along rt. 228 between Mars borough and Cranberry), Middlesex Township, and the Saxonburg area.

  • By The Phantom, March 26, 2012 @ 4:46 PM

    “we need to push the board into look at sites on the west side of the river”

    And so it begins, The move to build the West Hills dream school.

  • By wakeup, March 26, 2012 @ 5:04 PM

    Lancret- I give up what is Dr. Kerr’s Vision? Is it like your vision of a campus at the Lenape property? Everyone has a vision..many are based on self serving interests, its life? Should we allow it to dictate our decisions because we fundamentally oppose that person on other issues?

    Again I challenge you to look at a map and population of the county. A school near 422 and 28 or even as far as Worthington and a equal renovated school at WSHS. is very central that would allow breaking down attendance to make these schools equal in size stature and busing. I am not seeing that with your Lenape Property? Yes it helps those that attend that school and wish to attend Lenape but does nothing for other students…ESPECIALLY THOSE AT WSHS!

    Jorn- Not sure if the idea was part of the boards brainstorm or not. I believe the two school approach would best serve the county if an honest effort is put forth to make them equal. It is the closet to creating a situation that all areas win and minimizes losses. West Armstrong and East Armstrong that I am guessing would both be AAA versus the AAAA super school many fear.

    Time will tell what is best!

  • By Lancret, March 26, 2012 @ 5:20 PM

    Ladies and Gentlemen….

    Get ready for the West Hills PR campaign.

    It looks like it is now in full motion.

    And while you are getting ready for the WH campaign, grab your wallet, because if this campaign becomes a reality, you are going to be fleeced in funding this charade about education and the children.

    This will be all about the $$$$$$.

  • By wakeup, March 26, 2012 @ 5:40 PM

    Lancret- I am trying to understand the benefits you see in putting a school at the Lenape property. Unless it is a half day program I am not seeing how students would interact between the two schools and the benefit? I am also not seeing savings in busing unless you plan to put High School, Elementary and Lenape Tech students all on the same bus which to me is not a real good idea? So how do these three schools interact that will benefit the students and reduce costs?

  • By nonamerequired, March 26, 2012 @ 10:47 PM

    Jorn- building up West Shamokin is not an option. This can absolutely be verified. It can not expand up or out. Up, due to the initial construction of the high school – no beams to support it, and out would be building on a swamp. Yet another waste of tax payer’s money, yet another reason among the growing list as to why we feel our children are not important to this board.

  • By asdgrad, March 29, 2012 @ 12:03 AM

    noname, where can that information about west shamokin be verified?

  • By JornJensen, March 29, 2012 @ 9:59 AM

    The Phantom – So, what is your solution to this dilemma? Even if this school board came up with “The Perfect Solution”, some would still not like it. No matter what they do, they will be wrong?

    An idea of two equal school system (I believe that wakeup came up with that)and you start on the critique of the “West Hills Dream”? So, where should it (Armstrong West)be placed?

    The answer is to solve the problem based on data, and take emotions and attacks out of it.
    One piece of data – there are three bridges that cross the river – one goal should be minimized bus miles/travel over those bridges, so, which direction of travel would produce least bussing over the bridges?

    Assuming that nonamerequired is correct about WSHS (adding on, up or out), then ‘what next’ for ‘Armstrong East’?

  • By asdgrad, April 2, 2012 @ 10:13 AM

    I still think all the schools need to be consolidated before the start of next school year.
    Ford City + Kittanning, Elderton + West Shamokin.

    Pick to buildings to use as Jr High Sr High for the ford city and Kittanning Areas. If it is done now they can work on the attendance lines and maybe just make this district equal.

    Then sell off the rest of the unused buildings.

    But again consolidate the schools and sports before next year and get it over with.

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