Armstrong School Officials Narrow Possible Stadium Architects

by Jonathan Weaver

Hopes for junior high and varsity River Hawks to play sports in their own stadium this Fall are ramping up.

The decision to continue discussions with a leading architect firm to design Armstrong Junior/Senior High School’s new sports stadium is on Monday night’s agenda for Armstrong School District board directors.

Finances and Operations Director Sam Kirk told school board members during their open caucus session Thursday that information was sent to 15-20 architectural firms in Pennsylvania after November’s approval to seek interest.

“We had 10 respond to it – the RFP was requesting an estimate, conceptual design (and) proposed fees from the architect for a 3,000 seat stadium with synthetic turf, football field, six-lane track, lights, scoreboard, 12,500 square foot fieldhouse (which would include concession stands, locker rooms and public restrooms) and a 500-square-foot press box on top,” Kirk reported last night.

School directors, district administrators – such as Kirk, School Superintendent Chris DeVivo and Facilities Director Bill Henley – and high school athletic staff -such as athletic directors Todd Harvey and varsity football coach Frank Fabian – eventually narrowed interested architects to a single bidder – IKM, Inc. of Pittsburgh. The last round of interviews was held Wednesday.

Kirk explained a reason for the group’s recommendation included IKM’s affiliation with Gateway Engineers, in Butler, and JTSA Sports, of Burgettstown.

“Their estimates came in around $6 million. Those are just estimates – we’re going to give them a budget based on what we think we can afford, which is somewhat in that neighborhood at this point,” Kirk said. “Three architects working together, but the main architect is IKM.”

Community stakeholders will also have input into the final designs.

Even though he was not at the architect presentations, School Board President Joseph Close is anxious to finish the athletic complex.

“I think we’ll garner some support more so now as people see the stadium that could be there,” Close said. “A stadium (can also be used for a lot more) than just a football game.”

A vote Monday would not totally commit school district officials to the project.

In August 2014, L.R. Kimball Project Manager Brian Hayes presented school board members with $9.1-$10.5 million cost estimates for the athletic complex at their first open caucus session of the 2014-15 fiscal year, but in January 2015, Hayes proposed cutbacks to the stadium to entice more competitive bids.

A total $9.1 million bid was calculated for the 3,500-seat football stadium alone from the five lowest bids opened in June 2014.

In November, Kirk said Armstrong School District will receive more than $1.5 million in reimbursable PlanCon funds from the State following completed construction projects – including at Lenape Elementary, West Hills Primary and West Hills Intermediate – and another possible $2.8 million in reimbursement for the new high school.


  • By ktown_kid, January 6, 2017 @ 9:11 AM

    This is totally unacceptable. The school board is already claiming they are needing to raise taxes. The buildings need renovations before any stadiums get built. We might as well give up with our representatives, especially with Pyle having family members that are faculty.

  • By ktown_kid, January 6, 2017 @ 9:25 AM

    Why do we need a 500 square foot press box? Isnt this high school football? These board members and the atheltic directors are out of their minds. We don’t have powerhouse sports teams nor do we have the area to showboat our stadium. People move from this area because if lack of work and towns full of drug dealers. Just because you build it doesn’t mean people are moving here for it!

  • By jorn jensen, January 6, 2017 @ 9:43 AM

    In a Hannity interview, Julian Assange claimed that governments are “full of incompetent people. And the more secretive the area is, the more incompetent it becomes because there’s no proper oversight.”

    Ever been to an ASD school board meeting? The epitome of lack of transparency, complete disregard of the Sunshine Law, agendas with no detail, pre-arranged unanimous voting, no abstentions, and an attitude of “we don’t need the public – we were elected to run this ship.”

    Like I’ve stated so many times before, that one way in, same way out will be a complete ‘choke’ if these Solak Sports Complexes are built up there in that old strip mine.

  • By Marc, January 6, 2017 @ 10:17 AM

    Everyone, look at the ***hat interjecting Julian Assange into an article about Armstrong HS’s stadium. Good grief.

  • By blutoblutarsky, January 6, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

    Marc- Remember, it’s Jorn’s “job” to watch Hannity and comment on the KP site about it. haha

  • By ktown_kid, January 6, 2017 @ 12:55 PM

    Hey jorn I’ll see you at the school board meeting

  • By cartman, January 6, 2017 @ 3:29 PM

    So, the new stadium seems to be going ahead. I think they should name it “Needless Field.” By the way, I just got a notice that my property assessment is going up, even though nobody talked to me, and I haven’t done anything to it in several years. The excuse is a bigger back porch I had built several years ago. I guess this is my part of paying for the stadium.

  • By Patzu, January 6, 2017 @ 4:04 PM

    These directors are a bunch of chuckleheads.

    They do not have money for renovation of elementary schools. These renovations could bring the possibility of needing to raise taxes. But, we have $6 million wicked away for a new stadium.


    *Please do not hijack this thread and begin posting comments about other subjects other than this raping of the taxpayers. This is not about Jorn or Hannity. Save that for another thread.

  • By sickofpayingforit, January 6, 2017 @ 5:32 PM

    Would love to know how much we have paid architects the last ten years……

  • By goober, January 6, 2017 @ 7:29 PM

    we were getting a stadium come hell or high water anyway. i dont know anyone would be surprized.they were just waiting their time. just suck it up and pay youre new taxes we may have a new superstar playing there next year.

  • By jorn jensen, January 7, 2017 @ 2:54 PM

    So, what do you two clowns have to say about the subject matter of the article above? Do you have anything of value to offer?

  • By taxpayerink, January 8, 2017 @ 5:38 PM

    How did Solak get blamed for anything that is going on now he has been out of the picture for a few years.

  • By jorn jensen, January 9, 2017 @ 7:34 AM

    ktown_kid – Glad to hear that you’ll be attending the school board meeting. We need taxpayers there. You’ll learn how un-inviting that meeting is. Vague agendas without line item details, continuous unanimous voting without discussion. But, please do come.

    cartman – You’re also paying the $206,000 that the present commissioners paid Pictometry to spy on you via satellite or airplanes. The purpose of that was to keep assessors in their comfy offices and not have to go out and deal with unruly taxpayers – oh, and to shake you down for more tax money. Don’t know if you’re on-board or not, but you might want to seriously consider supporting HB & SB 76, property tax elimination.

    Agree Patzu, the money for education and education facilities should come considerably before any sports facilities – especially in an area as broke as this. When the county’s biggest employer is the county, you might have a problem.

    sickofpayingforit – that is a fair question to ask directors in a school board meeting. Recall the beautiful drawings of the upgraded old buildings under the Stitt/Solak regime. We paid for that for those now-abandoned buildings.

    taxpayerink, I’m the guilty party there – it is a poke of humor in a serious situation for this district. Dr. Solak put in probably 40 or so years in various school board director jobs to prevent consolidation of this school district for up to 40 or 50 years beyond most other school districts having consolidated. Dr. Solak cost the taxpayers an excessive amount of money. Typically, when someone puts in that much ‘service’ some facility is named after them – you know, a brass plaque or something like that – Solak Sports Complex (SSC) – it is humor. Dry humor, but humor.

  • By ktown_kid, January 9, 2017 @ 9:11 AM

    Jorn, the problem with this school board is that they will pass whatever they want regardless. They have a one tracked mindset and do what they want. Anyone with common sense can see we can’t afford this new school, new stadium and whatever else they think we need. Attendance numbers, Jobs and residents are declining so why keep spending. It’s ridiculous what people pay out in property taxes here.

  • By cartman, January 9, 2017 @ 1:14 PM

    Well, it seems that most of us are resigned to the fact that we are getting the stadium. Sad. Jorn, I am totally in support of the bills eliminating the property tax, but I have my doubts about their passage. PSEA and AFT seem to have a stranglehold on it. I don’t really know why. Perhaps the best hope is to look to the next election. Of course, by then, the damage will be done. What do we do?

  • By Marc, January 9, 2017 @ 5:12 PM

    Patzu- I missed the part where anyone beside Jensen brought up Assange or Hannity. People calling him out on an off topic post isn’t hijacking anything.

    Jensen- What did your post offer of value? Looking back on it I see that you quoted Assange and cited the source (Hannity) and then proceeded to b*tch about how you perceive the school board to run things, following it up with a “dry joke” about Jim Solak. Valuable stuff right there.

    The next comment was full of additional whining… zero solutions to any problem and completely void of any value.

  • By jorn jensen, January 9, 2017 @ 10:32 PM

    ktown and cartman – Don’t give up the good fight. As I’ve indicated in past comments, I’ve been on school board, Leechburg District, and I can tell you that audience pressure works. Me being the only one or one of two, does not work. People whine and complain, but won’t show up at the meetings. Gotta show up and be outspoken.

    We’re very lucky to have Don White for one more term. This year, senate bill 76 will pass and that will put pressure on the house of representatives naysayers. The momentum is there.

    Why doesn’t the PSEA want 76 passed? Because there appears to be a fear of losing funding for this free-for-all. But, that is not the case – it is a dollar for dollar switch. School districts get the same funding that they have now.

    What the PSEA should fear is pension reform – the other of Don White’s goals this term. Pension – 80% of salary at 30 years and 100% of salary at 40 years. Do the math for an $80,000 teacher. Do the math for a $100,000 teacher (easier math). Along with that, a guaranteed 8% income on retirement savings. If the markets don’t deliver 8%, then the taxpayer foots the balance of the bill. No-risk investment – what could be better?

    No waiting for the next election – go for it now – go for it every day – push it. Attend the meetings – let them know that you’re paying attention.

  • By jorn jensen, January 10, 2017 @ 8:17 AM

    cartman, the other reason that the PSEA, AFT and school boards are against SB & HB 76 is that passage of the bills creates referendums for the people. This is what Ohio has. On major spendings, including teacher contracts, Ohesians have a voice in the decision. This constrains the school boards.

    Had we had referendums over the past ten years, what might have been different in ASD? I’d certainly hope that the people would have gone for consolidation as we’re 50 years behind the times on that, but consolidation into the best of the existing buildings inventory – and then some fixup of that chosen site. The sports complex up in the strip mine, then, would never have been a topic.

    Sorry, I missed the meeting last night. I’ll make the next one.

  • By steve, January 10, 2017 @ 8:24 AM

    “But, that is not the case – it is a dollar for dollar switch. School districts get the same funding that they have now.”

    Jensen, that’s great if schools will get the same amount of funding, however if businesses are no longer paying and owners of multiple properties are no longer paying, who pays? Will the renters see a reduction in their rent? Probably not. Starr is right, it’s just cost shifting.

    If you own one single residence property your property taxes would be eliminated, but you’ll see a heck of a lot more cash coming out of your pocket to pick up the slack for businesses and landlords like Jenny.

  • By jorn jensen, January 10, 2017 @ 9:22 AM

    steve, you’re back! Look, 76 spreads the tax load out to 12.7 million Pennsylvania residents from 3.2 million property owners. I means WE ALL PAY for public education, not just property owners. Spreading the load out over 4 times the number of people will lessen the load on those now losing homes to school districts via this tx rent.

    Renters should see a reduction of rent because landlords charge for the taxes in the rent. That is a discussion between the landlord and the renter. That’s their business, none of mine.

    When school property taxes are gone, you’ll see people spending money to improve their properties and you’ll see business and industry coming in to set up shop. Sadly, convincing people of that is difficult.

  • By jd718, January 10, 2017 @ 10:34 AM

    Steve, jennsen said, “Spreading the load out over 4 times the number of people will lessen the load on those now losing homes to school districts via this tx rent.” Does jensen have any true stats on people losing homes to school taxes, probably not. However, in every debate or argument he states the same thing! Show me some stats, jensen!
    Sounds like Kellyann mouthway!

  • By Rainbow Rider, January 10, 2017 @ 11:18 AM

    So, currently 3.2 million property owners pay all the taxes. In jenny’s dream 12.7 million residents will pay. jenny believes this spreads the bill over four times the payers. But , if an average of 4 people live at each ‘property’ currently taxed then the same people are paying. After all, everybody (almost) lives somewhere !

  • By ktown_kid, January 10, 2017 @ 11:50 AM

    Seems pretty self explanatory to me. People on fixed incomes paying $300 +/month just for property taxes are getting out of hand. Throw in homeowners, medicare, prescriptions and utilities on top of that. what do they have left? Don’t forget the new hike in fuel tax, that 8 cents increased gas 24 cents at the pump. When is it going to stop? They are forcing you right into bankruptcy!

  • By Rainbow Rider, January 10, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

    Referencing my above post. Do the math. 3.2 × 4 = 12.8. Very close to jenny’s 12.7 number.

  • By steve, January 10, 2017 @ 12:23 PM

    “Renters should see a reduction of rent because landlords charge for the taxes in the rent. That is a discussion between the landlord and the renter. That’s their business, none of mine.”

    Liar, liar, pants on fire Jenny. We all know landlords wouldn’t reduce rent prices, including you.

    “When school property taxes are gone, you’ll see people spending money to improve their properties and you’ll see business and industry coming in to set up shop.”

    Liar, liar, pants on fire Jenny. The middle class will have less of their income to spend when taxes increase on the goods they purchase and their rent stays the same. Homeowners owning only one property will be relieved of real estate taxes, however they’ll still shoulder the gap left by relieving businesses of their tax obligations. Forcing the middle class to reduce spending will affect the businesses you claim will be brought in.

    We all know you could care less as long as you don’t have to pay taxes on your rentals. All of us paid taxes for your kids to go to school and suddenly you want to change the rules to suit yourself.

  • By steve, January 10, 2017 @ 12:30 PM

    ktown- What Jenny isn’t telling you is that those people on fixed incomes paying $300+ a month in property taxes will still be paying $300+ a month (and then some) except the tax will have a different name.

    You complain about gas tax.. wait and see what happens to the every day items you purchase via Jenny’s greed tax.

  • By ktown_kid, January 10, 2017 @ 1:19 PM

    Everything goes up but your wages. A reduction in taxes here is a attention catcher just to screw you over there.

  • By LouisWinthorpeIII, January 10, 2017 @ 3:03 PM

    I’m not sure what side of the fence I’m on yet, but I do know that there are some compelling arguments. What I do know that I like to control what little money I may have. Let’s look at the numbers: I pay $4,900 for spring/fall tax. I have no control over that bill! Now, if they raised the tax by $.01, making it $.07 on the dollar and expanding it to more goods and services, I’d have to spend $70,000 to equal the same amount as my tax bill, $4,900! It would take me 5 to 10 years to spend that amount of money. Am I missing something? Is my math correct?

  • By cartman, January 10, 2017 @ 4:50 PM

    As usual, you are full of it. The taxes will be spread out enough that all will benefit. Use your head for once.

  • By jorn jensen, January 10, 2017 @ 5:39 PM

    Ya know, steve, ya not real good at gazindering. If 2.3 million people are currently footing public education via school property taxes and you spread that load out to 12.7 million people, then 2.3 gazinder 12.7 four times, meaning that, yes, property owners will still be paying, but only 1/4 of what they were paying (actual numbers are around 1/2, not 1/4, because babies, who are residents, are not yet paying taxes – that comes later). What 76 does is makes us ALL pay, not just property owners.

    You can naysay all you want, you and the rest of the liberals – we have the necessary votes in the senate, and Don White, recently re-elected, is a strong proponent of 76 – you’ll see 76 passed in the senate this year.

    Suck it up and whine about something else.

  • By jorn jensen, January 10, 2017 @ 5:45 PM

    steve, did you read the article regarding senator Dob White being sworn in? Comments?

  • By ktown_kid, January 10, 2017 @ 7:21 PM

    Regardless of what Jenny says these members are supposed to represent what’s best for the public and the area they were voted in for. These clowns do what’s best for their own personal agenda. Big spending situations such as this stadium with a 500 square foot press box shouldn’t be passed as easy as it was. The public should have the final say. Take a look at the press box at the ford city and kittanning fields. They made them work and they are far from 500 square foot.

  • By Patzu, January 11, 2017 @ 6:40 AM


    You are missing the point with White.

    The issue in this article really does not deal directly with property taxes.

    Don White showed up at Lenape Elementary and questioned and scolded the past school board about spending.

    WHERE IS HE NOW??????

    That is the question. It has to do with him following precedence. What motivated him to go to Lenape for that meeting?

    Senator White should be making an appearance at a school board meeting to stop this stadium-funding mess.

  • By mad-2010, January 11, 2017 @ 7:15 AM

    I am with you k-town… Use Ford City field and save a Big Buck. This isn’t Cranberry TWP…..

  • By jorn jensen, January 11, 2017 @ 7:54 AM

    Patzu, I wrote a long response and then this weak program told me that I was not logged in, so here goes again:

    Patzu, I agree with you. Both senator Don White and representative Jeff Pyle ‘scolded’ the previous school board’s wasteful spending. Wasteful spending to keep community schools open at any cost, closing and re-opening Elderton and the related wasted costs, and so forth.

    But the new school board is no different than the old school board – there’s still the same Joe Close and a few others. They snookered us on consolidation, which was sorely needed, but they haven’t generated any savings that go along with consolidation. They’re actually bigger spenders than the previous board. Keeping all 4 principals and merely reassigning them should tell you everything that you need to know about this board and this consolidation.

    So, yes, if Don White and Jeff Pyle both attended school board meetings back then (previous board) and scolded them for wasteful spending, then they should both attend school board meetings, now, to scold this school board even more harshly.

    But, in addition to these two characters, where are the hundreds of taxpayers that should overfill the meeting room in order to force a meeting move to an auditorium?

    Indiana, PA, school board meeting, this past Monday, had 70 taxpayers, with signs, in attendance to try to stop that school board from abandoning some schools and building a mega school. The 6 board members that showed up, voted unanimously to proceed with the mega school. So, 6 board members must be a lot more wise than 70 taxpayers. You’d think that Indiana could have learned something from ASD – maybe they did.

    ASD and Indiana points to the dire need for passage of SB 76 and HB 76 – not only making us ALL pay for public education, and not just property owners, but also to give the taxpayers the power of referendums. WE, instead of 9 elected people, get to decide major expenditures via referendum voting. Ohio has that – and they hold their school boards accountable.

    So, yes, Patzu, agree – get Don White and Jeff Pyle into the next ASD board meeting and let the scolding begin. Maybe some taxpayers will show up for the show.

  • By steve, January 11, 2017 @ 8:13 AM

    Ya know Jorn, you’re not very good at reading. If you’re referring to the mathematical post, I didn’t write it. Also, if you meant gazundering, you not only cannot spell it, there’s a good chance you don’t understand it’s definition as well.

    This is also one of your previous quotes in this thread, “Renters should see a reduction of rent because landlords charge for the taxes in the rent. ”

    We all know this already, but you said yourself in your last post, “What 76 does is makes us ALL pay, not just property owners.”

    Say what?!?!? According to yourself renters are already paying the landlords property taxes via rent. What is the point of the bill other than to relieve businesses of their tax obligations? If everyone else is already paying who picks up their slack via added sales taxes? That’s right, the renters and single dwelling property owners.

    Quit looking to the rest of us to subsidize your business ventures Jensen.

    Your bill won’t pass. Let’s have a little wager. If it passes in 2017 I won’t post here ever again. If it doesn’t, then you won’t post on the KP site. Deal?

  • By Just sayin, January 11, 2017 @ 9:09 AM

    Don’t hold your breath, Steve. How would Jensen get any thrills?

  • By mad-2010, January 11, 2017 @ 9:18 AM

    You got a Big set of pants on, Steve. I love it. Can’t wait to see this one play out! Will Jensen take the bet? Wish you well, Steve……

  • By jorn jensen, January 11, 2017 @ 10:09 AM

    Rather than attack me, study the bills and develop your understanding. Believing me will never happen – we know that. Learn for yourself.

    SB 76 will pass in 2017. I will personally work hard for that, and, no, I don’t have to, nor wish to, wager you on that. I could care less if you post or not.

  • By ktown_kid, January 11, 2017 @ 10:18 AM

    Exactly mad-2010, ford city field has it all. It’s a diamond in the rough. There is as much parking there as the new high school has.

  • By mad-2010, January 11, 2017 @ 10:58 AM

    K-Town, Yes, Upgrade Ford City field if you have to, still far less monies spent and the area needs other things done! That’s the real way to go, utilize the assets that are already in place, and spare the taxpayer any extra debt….

  • By mad-2010, January 11, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

    No, he will not take the wager! There you have it, Steve! Short lived, but, still a victory as I see it! Way to go!……

  • By Marc, January 11, 2017 @ 11:57 AM

    Jensen, Steve did nothing but debate you in regards to the conversation you started on this thread and used your own quotes to show you contradicting the “facts” you offered to KP readers.

    This was a completely valid debate and your response was, you’re attacking me??? That’s spoken like someone who has no response to the points Steve presented. If this bill is so easily opposed on the KP site, you can imagine how they’ll be picked apart in Harrisburg.

    You seemed so sure that the bills would pass, but won’t take Steve’s bet? What a wimp!!!!

  • By steve, January 11, 2017 @ 1:39 PM

    Jorn, I didn’t attack you LOL How do you figure that? You seemed like you wanted to debate me on SB76 until you contradicted yourself.

    Please fill the readers in on why these two comments of yours differ?

    “Renters should see a reduction of rent because landlords charge for the taxes in the rent.”

    “What 76 does is makes us ALL pay, not just property owners.”

    We’d all like to know what the purpose of the bill is if the renters are already paying the property taxes for landlords? Everyone except for a few homeless is already either a homeowner or paying rent except for dependents (aka the babies you mentioned above).

    Again, debating someone isn’t attacking them. You brought SB76 up. I’ve seen enough on the bill to know why you want it. You can’t blame me for calling you out on spreading misinformation here about it.

    If you’re so certain that I’m misinformed, please accept my wager offer. What do you have to lose?

  • By blutoblutarsky, January 11, 2017 @ 4:51 PM

    At this rate Jensen is actually doing more harm than good for SB76! The Worthington chapter of whatever coalition he belongs to may want to find a different spokesperson. Haha

    Steve- I loved how Jensen cowered away from that bet! Fantastic stuff!!!

  • By Patzu, January 11, 2017 @ 5:30 PM

    Save SB 76 for another thread.

    Right now, we need to be making phone calls to Rep. Pyle and Senator White and ask them at least what can be done to stop this crazy spending by this ritzy school board. We cannot keep building up the taxes on property owners. Nobody is going to want to come to this county. They can lie all they want about not raising the taxes for the stadium, but they will drain the coffers for the stadium so when actual school renovations are needed they will say the only option is to raise taxes, but they will not remind you about the money they spent on the stadium.


  • By Rainbow Rider, January 11, 2017 @ 11:55 PM

    jenny, please tell us where these additional new taxpayers who will help bear the load of school taxes, currently live? If they live on ‘ property ‘ , you know property that is already taxed, they are already paying. Do they live in outer space? In fairytale meadows with the unicorns?
    Also, please explain why you think a new sales tax will not be raised just as easily and as frequently as property tax?
    The only ones I see benefitting from a replacement sales tax are businesses, and tightwads like yourself.
    Businesses will be relieved of property tax and won’t be paying much of the sales tax either. How? you ask . Because most of what they purchase will be from other states or other countries ! Who will fill that enormous void ?
    Tightwads will benefit because they won’t pay much of the additional sales tax just by not buying new cars or anything else that’s not a necessity.
    So again, please elaborate on the current whereabouts of these additional magical new taxpayers.
    Oh, and this isn’t an ATTACK !
    An ATTACK would be like what you constantly do to Jeff Pyle. Right ??!! 😉

  • By Flamingo1, January 12, 2017 @ 12:00 AM

    I have read SB76 and one of the things you fail to mention is the rise in the income tax Pennsylvania’s income tax is also regressive in that it allows no deductions for charitable contributions, taxes or mortgage interest or other interest. The proposal in SB76 is to raise the tax more than 70% But again this does nothing to improve education.
    The idea that you need a referendum on all tax increases is the beginning of mobocracy.
    Your comments about the Indiana consolidation is instructive. School board members are elected. If 70 come out to protest that does not mean they should overrule the elected board. And probably most of them protested on emotion rather than reason. That was how Solak bamboozled us for so many years.
    Also amusing that you who call so many people names are protesting name calling.

  • By Rainbow Rider, January 12, 2017 @ 12:52 AM

    Steve, nice job laying the smack down on Jenny! I’m enjoying it!
    There’s been a number of folks who could put him in his place at will over the years. LOL

  • By jorn jensen, January 12, 2017 @ 7:39 AM

    Flamingo, Not sure where you are getting your ‘facts’, but the increase in PIT (personal income tax) is not 70%, it is 31%. 31%, or 70%, are mighty big numbers, aren’t they? Scares people, doesn’t it?

    Fact: The PIT goes from 3.07% to 4.34%, for a net increase of 1.27%. Small numbers, huh? Not as scary, huh? So, a 1.27% increase on the present 3.07% is a 31% increase.

    You see, naysayers come up with the more scary numbers – a percent increase of the total rather than how much additional it really is. Naysayers do that intentionally to scare the mathematically-challenged. But you’re not mathematically-challenged, right? You know that going from the actual PIT of 3.07% to 4.34% is a small increase.

    Along the same lines, sales and use tax (SUT), for our area, goes from 6% to 7% for a 1% increase. But, stated as naysayers like it, that is a 16.67% increase (1 divided by 6). 17% increase in sales tax sounds really, really big, doesn’t it? Does 1% increase in sales tax sound big? That’s $1 MORE tax on a $100 purchase. We drive to Butler to Sam’s Club and presently pay 6% sales tax. We don’t drive to the Mills Sam’s Club because Allegheny County sales tax is 7% to fund the stadiums. I don’t go to the stadiums – I don’t support that expenditure if I have better, less-costly choices. But, the difference in tax on $100 of items is one dollar ($1)or 16.67% or 1%.

    Thing is, with SB and HB 76, when Armstrong County would go from 6% to 7% SUT, Allegheny County will go from 7% to 8%. The 1% ‘difference’ will remain and we’ll continue to go to Sam’s Club Butler.

    So, your ‘fact’ is false – it is not a 70% increase. If you want to spread that sort of naysaying, support it with detailed data, not with a wide paintbrush with disappearing ink.

    SB and HB 76 are not intended to improve education. Why do you think a taxation shift should improve education? It is a dollar for dollar tax shift to continue to fund public education. Perhaps challenge your school board, administration and teachers to improve education.

    Referendums – what is so wrong with referendums? Ohio has that law and the people are able to keep school boards under control. I like a say in where my money is spent – perhaps you don’t – perhaps you are a school board member?

    You use the word ‘probably’ in your statement “And probably most of them protested on emotion rather than reason.” So you assume that without any knowledge of the situation. You base your comment on nothing. No facts.

    I’ll forward your comments to that Indiana group. Good thing you post with a pseudonym.

  • By scott_starr, January 12, 2017 @ 9:40 AM

    Um, my calculation is that it is a 41% increase in the income tax.

    “SB and HB 76 are not intended to improve education”

    If what you say above is true, you have just given the most powerful reason not to support SB and HB.

    Do we need to improve education as well as figure out a better funding formula? Yes.

    Are these bills the answer? – NO

    Homeowners, renters and businesses all have a vested interest in an educated populace. Those who directly enter the workforce must have the skills to do their job or at least the foundation on how to learn, those who go to University must have the foundation to move them forward in studies.

    If we are going to revamp the funding, we have to at least make sure we get improved outcomes.

  • By Rainbow Rider, January 12, 2017 @ 11:32 AM

    Wow, sideshow snott disagreeing with jenny!! That’s front page news for the kB!

  • By cartman, January 12, 2017 @ 12:18 PM

    The unending brouhaha over education has led me to some questions. If throwing money at the schools is the answer, then why are they not better? Why do referendums work in other states, but it’s argued they won’t work here? What about a lottery for education? My point is that good education does not have to suck homeowners dry.

  • By scott_starr, January 12, 2017 @ 4:37 PM

    Hey Happy New Year RainmanRider- glad to see you are still under the bridge.

  • By scott_starr, January 12, 2017 @ 5:22 PM


    1. No one said “throwing money” is the answer.
    2. Referendums – these are easily manipulated, put a tax increase on the ballot in an “off season” election when turnout is low, a very small number of votes can get it passed. Later there will be a repeal.. then expenses will exceed income. Administrators will cut a popular program, or reduce it so that people will be up in arms and then eventually accept the tax increase. ( Rinse, Lather, Repeat every 3 years or so).

    One of the bigger issues in Education is the layers and layers of Bureaucracy. Look at ASD, every time there is a new program, they need a 6 figure administrator.
    Also text books which cost an enormous amount of money and are horrible, as well as the essentials like Stadiums, Press Boxes, Golden Back scratchers and so on.

  • By jorn jensen, January 12, 2017 @ 9:33 PM

    Scott, the best way to improve education is to get government out of that business.

  • By Just sayin, January 13, 2017 @ 6:55 AM

    Some Republicans are for saving money by trying to stop the erection of a new stadium. And yet they agree to build that wall to keep Mexicans out of our country. Hypocrybabies (hypocrite crybabies). They are willing to pay for it… So goes the strength of racism.

  • By jorn jensen, January 13, 2017 @ 7:31 AM

    and another good way to improve education, in defense of teachers, is for properly-parented kids to show up for instruction.

  • By jorn jensen, January 13, 2017 @ 9:35 AM

    Scott_Starr, still very curious as to what skin you have in the game to NOT want the fair and equal tax shift from school property taxes to PIT and SUT?

    I find that odd for you, but not for the liberal naysayers on this site.

    There’s many problems with public education. It is amazing that people like Flamingo want all the problems solved in one bill. There’s the pension problem that was created by legislators. Strikes by teachers’ unions. High costs, low results (ASD teachers 10th highest-paid in the state, but our education results are nowhere near 10th highest in the state). Runaway spending by school boards. A consolidation that should have resulted in savings, but resulted in more spending, more taxes. Only property owners pay for it all. There’s plenty of problems with PA public education.

    SB & HB 76 will solve one of those problems – fair and equitable taxing for ALL to pay for this money-gorging beast. Once you have that, then there’s more people concerned with solving the other problems – they become shareholders.

    I see referendums helping to solve some of the problems because WE the People can get involved in making choices. If only 20% show up at the polls to vote on a referendum, then accept the results – the other 80% had the same opportunity to affect the results.

    Regardless, we’ll have SB 76 passed in 2017 and that will put the pressure on the house of representatives. Good days are coming.

  • By scott_starr, January 13, 2017 @ 10:47 AM

    Fair and equal is the Liberal mantra.

    Again, you are shifting from Election of School Boards to Referendum ( just like cost shifting).

    If people are not “shareholders” when their property taxes are affected, they will not be “shareholders” when the pain is spread, the pain is much more localized via property tax and people should be much more active.

    By switching to state funding you have made it a vote buying scheme.

    If it passes, we will see what happens. I just don’t think it is a well thought out plan.

    If the real concern is about people losing homes to property taxes, then why not exempt a person’s homestead, but levy taxes on homes which are only rentals ? Then someone who owns 3 homes and rents 2 will have the break on the home they are living in, but pay taxes on the rental properties ?

  • By Rat_Smeller, January 13, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

    Just Sprayin’ – What is so racist about ensuring immigrants enter the country legally? My ancestors came here legally and became law abiding citizens. Maybe yours did too. In this day and age of state sponsored terrorism you just can’t leave the door hanging open for anyone and everyone to walk through it anytime that they want. Maybe you and the rest of the hippies over at the commune should switch up the dope that you guys smoke. What you’re using now has warped your brain.

  • By scott_starr, January 13, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

    What skin do I have in the game?
    You mean besides believing that an educated populace is critical to a civilized society?

    Well having grown up in Kittanning I am sure that someone I know, have known,will have known, would have known,or bumped into has something to do with the ASD. That is my disclaimer.

    With that being said, there are too many administrators and the pensions are killing us. The state has to reform how it calculates “investments” in school districts. You see, waaaaaaaaaaaaay back I was at an ASD meeting and paraphrasing the discussion:

    If we don’t spend this $X million now, then we are not set for reimbursment for X years later, so that $X million will be lost. ( eg if we don’t get the money someone else will).

    Reform Harrisburg,Reform Benefits, Reform Department of Ed, THEN maybe you can Reform funding. ( you may not need to reform funding if the other 3 are reformed).

    So, what skin do you have in the game?

  • By cartman, January 13, 2017 @ 1:29 PM

    When you look at it, hasn’t every politician running for election promised to throw more money at the schools? Many have kept that promise, if no others. What good has it done? That’s my point.

  • By steve, January 13, 2017 @ 1:30 PM

    @scott- I applaud you in standing your ground and ignoring Jensen attempting to pressure you by claiming your stance is anti-conservative. It’s not.

    @jensen- You’ve ignored making sense of these two comments of yours. Why?

    “Renters should see a reduction of rent because landlords charge for the taxes in the rent.”
    “What 76 does is makes us ALL pay, not just property owners.”

    My wager offer still stands. If you seem so sure it will pass, put your money where your mouth is.

    @everyone- The numbers Jensen provided to Flamingo and questions by Scott came directly from the PTCC website found here:

    This is a list they provide so you can “argue” “your” point with people who don’t agree with the bills. Jensen slipped up and took some air out of his argument with me. I imagine he stopped responding to me because this list doesn’t cover our conversation now.

    Jensen was on the PTCC Facebook page last night begging for people to back him up on the KP site. You can see they showed up in droves :). He was also whining about “liberals” calling him “Jenny” and said he used “the playbook”. True story lol. Go on their FB page to check it out if you like.

    After all of this, I imagine he’ll start “not reading liberal’s posts.” Scott, if you keep making so much sense you may make the ignore list as well!

  • By scott_starr, January 13, 2017 @ 2:58 PM

    We need to hold the politicians feet to the fire.
    I agree with you.

    We need to challenge the politicians all the time and not wait until we are fed up.

    Even if there is only one constituent at a politician meeting, go after them.

  • By Marc, January 13, 2017 @ 6:30 PM

    Jenny needs an instruction manual on how to argue these bills? bahahaha

    You made my night Steve! Don’t hold your breath on that wager or for Jensen to speak to you ever again lol

  • By Just sayin, January 14, 2017 @ 9:21 AM

    RAT: It’s racist because the other borders around the USA aren’t going to have the “wall.” It is also an unnecessary expense and is unnecessary, period. There has to be a more humane way to keep illegal aliens out of our country.
    It’s ALSO RACIST when students and T-rump lovers are yelling, “Build that wall,” at LEGAL immigrants from Mexico and other southern countries. Go suck a rat’s behind.

  • By Just sayin, January 14, 2017 @ 9:22 AM

    Trump and Narcissistic Personality Disorder—
    Thursday, January 12, 2017 10:35 AM

    “I agree with prior contributors to The Free Press Thunderdrome that Donald Trump’s verbal attacks (not to mention his facial expressions and miming) on women, minorities, non-Christians, immigrants, non-whites, disabled, etc., are appalling, but I fear Trump because of far more serious scenarios that he may produce. My fear is based on my interpretation that Trump’s behavior is due to a serious mental condition called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A personality disorder is not a form of insanity, but it is an extreme pattern of functioning, both within the self and towards others. Some personality disorders, such obsessive-compulsive, are treatable, but there is no medication for narcissistic personality disorder, and sufferers never go for psychotherapy. It is life-long and incurable.

    Here is my summary of the criteria for diagnosing Narcissistic Personality Disorder, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th Edition (DSM-4): The person meets five or more of the following:

    • Holds grandiose sense of self-importance and talents

    • Fantasizes unlimited success, brilliance, and power

    • Believes he is special and unique, can only be around high-status people who agree

    • Requires excessive admiration

    • Feels entitled to automatic, favorable treatment that meets his expectations

    • Exploits others for his own gain

    • Lacks empathy

    • Holds arrogant attitudes, and exhibits haughty behaviors

    The DSM-5 (2011) adds the following: The person is grandiose, self-centered and antagonistic. His self-functioning is impaired by such low self-esteem that his emotional control depends on responses of others. His personal goals are based on exceptionally high standards, and/or low standards with the expectation of entitlement despite low achievement. His interpersonal functioning is exquisitely attuned to reactions of others, but only as related to himself. These characteristics are stable across time and various situations. They are not due to medical conditions such as substances or trauma.

    I believe, and fear, that Trump is afflicted with this disorder, and that many of his traits and behaviors stem from it, and are not going to change. People who have worked with Trump say that he has a short attention span for any subject except himself; he ‘knows everything’ so he never reads, even the Daily Presidential Briefings; he follows no one’s counsel, but makes his decisions instantly — although he is known to occasionally change his mind to agree with the last person he spoke with. This profound ignorance of history, culture, and science leads to his concentration on the current ‘deal,’ without appreciation for unintended consequences. His pronouncements range from inconsistent, to impractical, to unverifiable. His colleagues say that his policies are ‘serious, but not literal.’ Finally, as shown by his ‘tweets,’ he has a short fuse, but holds long grudges, for even minor or imagined slights, and exacts incommensurate revenge.

    For these reasons, I am frightened of Trump in several contexts: In the near term, nuclear war. In the medium term, consequences of staff, cabinet, and Supreme Court appointments on the government, the economy, and the people. In the long term, global climate change.”

  • By Just sayin, January 14, 2017 @ 9:32 AM

    “…Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You, and all of us in this room, really belong to the most vilified segment of American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.
    But who are we? What is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of different places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised . . . in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated—for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.
    So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing else to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
    They gave me three seconds to say this, so: An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like, and there were many, many, many powerful performances that did exactly that: breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performances this year that stunned me; it sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job—it made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.
    It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter—someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie; it was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
    Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. O.K., go on with it.
    O.K., this brings me to the press: We need the principled press, to hold power to account, to call them them on the carpet for every outrage; that’s why our founders enshrine the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only asked the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
    One more thing. Once, when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something—we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, ‘Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?’ Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
    As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.” Meryl Streep

  • By jorn jensen, January 14, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

    A lot of words, Scott_Starr, but I didn’t read anything about your skin in the game of NOT wanting school property tax elimination. You want an educated populace – we agree. You want education problems solved before solving funding problems – we disagree.

    ‘They’ve’ been solving education problems for years and that’s how we’ve gotten to where we are – overspent with poor results.

    My skin in the game?

    I pay $11.000 per year in property taxes. None of that property generates income, so the $11k has to come from somewhere else – my retirement savings. Pretty good nestegg – how long can it tolerate just property taxes, ignoring costs to live? Don’t know. Right now, it looks like my funds will expire before I do.

    War Thing Tin Man says that I need to sell property because I can’t afford to own it. It is all paid off – what is there to afford? Mowing? Repairs? Roofs? Paint? Property taxes?

    My skin in the game, our skin in the game, is that school property tax elimination via SB and HB 76, will allow people to keep their paid-off properties and not lose them to the school district via tax-rent. Further, when WE ALL pay our fair share toward public education (increased PIT and SUT), instead of just the property owners, then my total tax load will go down as others, who are not now paying for public education, will be paying their fair share.

    So, I want the funding problem solved first, including giving me rights of referendum, and then solve all of the other problems. The right of referendum gives the people a stake in making proper education decisions. We’ll have input on problems like a consolidation that did not generate the savings that a consolidation should. Problems like $6000, $8000, $10,000 per month pensions for teachers – that is unsustainable on $500 per month pensions. Plenty of problems to solve in education after the funding problem is solved and equalized.

    So, again, what actually is your skin in the game for NOT wanting school property tax elimination?

  • By Patzu, January 16, 2017 @ 2:04 PM

    Once again, getting back to the issue….

    This stadium funding should/could become the line in the sand with this board.

    This whole athletic field complex needs scrapped. There are many more taxpayer-friendly options out there.

    Stop The Madness!

  • By jorn jensen, January 17, 2017 @ 3:28 AM

    No tax should have the power to leave you homeless.

  • By Rainbow Rider, January 17, 2017 @ 9:36 AM

    Right jen, no tax should have the power to leave you homely. Oh wait, you already…Awww Nevermind

  • By steve, January 17, 2017 @ 10:02 AM


    $11k a year? How many properties does this include? If there are multiple and they’re not generating income for you, what is the purpose of them?

    You keep saying that with your bill everyone will “pay their fair share.” You have failed to explain your previous comments:

    “Renters should see a reduction of rent because landlords charge for the taxes in the rent.”
    “What 76 does is makes us ALL pay, not just property owners.”

    It seems you’re fully aware that renters already pay “their fair share” as it’s included in their rent. This means everyone with a roof over their head is paying. How is this unfair? Your bill alleviates payments for businesses and owners of significant real estate. Who picks up their slack?

    Why didn’t you respond to Scott’s suggestion of people getting relief on just the property you reside on?

    They must not have added instructions on how to argue these on that website you use. You just keep repeating the same things over and over.

  • By jorn jensen, January 17, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

    You sure add a lot of value to the discussion Rainbow.

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