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KO Admins to Hold Public Budget Presentation

Curious about the financial state of Keystone Oaks School District? The administrators want to explain it to you.

Wondering about the financial state of Keystone Oaks School District? Want to know how school districts create yearly budgets?

The administrative staff of Keystone Oaks School District wants to explain it to you.

The administration will hold two public presentations on Wednesday, Oct. 10 that will focus on the process of budget development as well as the current financial status of the district.

"I want to be able to explain to the public what the process is and how you go through it," said Superintendent William Stropkaj. "These (meetings) are very good things to help get community informed of where we’re spending money, how we’re spending the money, where we are, where we need to go, and what’s happening."

Stropkaj said he will lead the meeting along with assistant Superintendent Kathy Foster, Director of Fiscal Services Eric Brandenburg, and district Communications Specialist Jim Cromie.

The information sessions are expected to last about 20 minutes each. Following the session, the administration will take and answer questions from the public.

If you're going:

  • What: Keystone Oaks School District Budget/Financial Status Presentation.
  • When: Wednesday, Oct. 10.
  • Time: The first session is at 9:30 a.m. The same presentation also will be given at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Keystone Oaks High School auditorium.
  • Cost: Free. These sessions are open to the public.

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Jerry Proctor October 02, 2012 at 05:06 PM
If the district is truly in the dire financial straights as described by many, then how can this presentation be made in 20 minutes? And afterward, will there be chest pounding by the "save our school so we can bankrupt the district" coalition? It would be interesting to see our new superintendent and business manager analyze how much could be save via consolidation.
Robert McKenna October 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Mr. Proctor, I believe the real purpose of these very brief meetings is to lay the ground work for the tax mileage increase we will be seeing next year. To begin to paint a dire picture. To be able to say, "We told you this was coming." The new superintendent will NEVER offer consolidation because the SOS fellas were on the board when he was hired. They never would have hired him if he even hinted at consolidation. Instead, taxes will be raised and programs will be cut - all to maintain the smallest K - 5 building in Allegheny County. A classic example of wasteful mismanagement.
Patty Conlon October 02, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Boring news day, now he is questioning AND answering himself! What is tax milEage anyway? Getting more quality education for our tax dollars? then I am for it. This situation is a result of rampant mismanagement for years and years under the prior board and administration's watch. The current administration is attempting to fix a problem you created. Let them do it without your veiled posturing.
Joe Hartnett October 03, 2012 at 04:37 AM
I suggest that anyone with an opinion on how their tax dollars should be spent should go to one of these meetings, and voice any questions or concerns. Personally, I believe the Robert McKenna/Jerry Proctor postings are by the same individual, using phony names, who holds some sort of personal grudge against those he often refers to as the “SOS fellas”. I’ll be at the 9:30am presentation on October 10th, and if either a Robert McKenna or a Jerry Proctor shows up, and produces a Pennsylvania drivers license proving their legitimacy, I’ll give them $100.00 cash on the spot. Seriously. As for an audit of the District’s books - it’s public knowledge that the Auditor General’s office has recently been doing (and may not have yet completed) a regular audit of Keystone Oaks - just as they periodically do for every school district. The results of that audit, and whether or not it becomes a “big news story” remains to be seen.
Mike Johns October 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Joe, you know as well as i do that there will NOT be a "big news story" because two sets of books do not exist. Those board members have made very serious unfounded accusations against individuals who are no longer there. I'm not an attorney but I believe that type of behavior could result in legal action if it's found to be defamatory. Those accusations were nothing more than bluster to get elected. You and I both know that. And there has been no "rampant mismanagement." The new Finance Director has said the district is in as good a shap financially as any other district in the state and the teachers' contract is "revenue neutral." I'm waiting for these new board members to do something that shows they care about the entire district and not just one community.
Erin Faulk October 03, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Hi guys, Just a reminder to keep this thread civil and focused on the topic of the article. Please do not post information as fact unless you can link to the source of the information. Also, please do not call out other users if you believe them to be using a fake name, or if you believe them to be someone else. That could be a violation of privacy, which is against the Patch terms of use. Please read over the Terms of Use if you're unsure of something: http://dormont-brookline.patch.com/terms Thanks!
Joe Hartnett October 03, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Your accuse the new Board members of (as candidates) asserting that KO had “kept two sets of books”. I never witnessed any of them make such a claim in the dozens of meetings where they provided public comment. I never read this on their campaign website, or campaign material. I also never saw this in any of their many postings on the Patch. Either provide specifics that back up you claim, or accept that people will not believe you, and as a result, will ultimately question anything you post.
Mike Johns October 04, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Erin I appreciate the reminder and, in the future will adhere to it. However, as you know, because a comment doesn't appear on the Patch or isn't heard by one individual, doesn't mean that comment wasn't made. Some share their true feelings only in more private circles. Those comments are repeated and then passed along. In the future, I will site/name my sources. Thanks again for the reminder.
Joe Hartnett October 04, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Mike Johns - Please don’t wait for the future, clear up this present situation. Above, you made a defamatory accusation about new Board members having accused the District of keeping two sets of books (implying that they were criminally mishandling KO finances). Ms. Faulk asked, as did I, for even a shred of proof to back up your statement. Now you claim that you heard it from some unnamed source, who in turn heard it from some other unnamed source, who allegedly heard in some private conspiratorial discussion . You sound completely unbelievable. As I have said before, if you don’t back up what you write no one will take you seriously. Prove me wrong if you can.
Nazy H October 04, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Mike Johns - who said anything about "2 sets of books" except you? Are you implying there are A) 2 sets but you don't want to believe it, or are you implying that B) there is only one set of books while someone else believes there are 2? So for argument A, why aren't you welcoming the audit? Isn't it your tax money being squandered too? BTW, this isn't going to be a standard audit this year, I received a letter in the spring stating they are looking into Walker's payout and Sunshine Law violations. For argument B, no one but you has said anything about 2 sets of books, so we are all in agreement, there is one set of official books. This isn't the old west with handwritten ledgers. Eric could barely get through one set of books, it was such a mess! I cannot follow your train of thought without clarification. Jerry Proctor and Robert McKenna - I have cleared up your misunderstanding of the school district on another story. The district is in dire straits according to one person - Eric Brandenburg. HE was the one who laid out the bankruptcy in 2-4 years, in a board meeting based on his one set of official books. Consolidation is and has been off the table because it RAISES costs by $50 per kid, as outlined in a board meeting. Dr. S has no intention of consolidation because it is fiscally irresponsible and hurts staff and students. The SOS guys can't carry any vote, so it wasn't them who chose him!
Nazy H October 04, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Again, two guys, the board voted down a millage increase already. Raising taxes is what Eric strongly urged, in an effort to fight off bankruptcy for a whopping 2 extra years. So you are complaining about the board NOT increasing your taxes? Again, clarify your position, it just doesn't make sense. You maintain that Aiken is the smallest school in Allegheny county but the proof is here. Aiken is NOT the smallest school. Posting it 50 times won't make it real. http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20000828smallschoolchart9.asp The Small Schools Coalition recommends a population of 350 or fewer students in elementary schools, and 500 or fewer in middle and high schools. Although the recommended sizes may vary, small-school advocates including the coalition say that children learn better in less-populated schools. In Allegheny County, 52 of the system's 224 suburban schools would be considered "small" under the coalition's definition. Following are the 10 smallest and 10 largest schools in the county. SMALLEST K/4, Highlands, 60 Elizabeth Elementary, Elizabeth Forward, 133 Foster Kindergarten, Sto-Rox, 140 Franklin Primary, Steel Valley, 144 Cornell Sr. High, Cornell, 152 Cornell Jr. High, Cornell, 159 Duquesne High, Duquesne, 212 Stewart, South Park, 218 Seville, North Hills, 219 Perrysville, North Hills, 221 Please, STOP saying things that are not true, you are hurting our community by doing so.
Nazy H October 04, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I agree with you Robert McKenna, there has been rampant wasteful mismanagement of KO, for years. Finally we have people in the right place to finally stop it and create a better KO. Mike Johns - where did you ever hear Eric say the district is in good shape!?! I don't know how you get "in good shape" from "bankrupt in 2 - 4 years, regardless of the amount of tax raises we do." I was in that board meeting, "in good shape" was certainly never said. "in good shape" was said, by Walker in November 2011, during the mismanagement/money grab/golden parachutes time. SHE was wrong. Nor do you get "revenue neutral" from Eric's presentation. Are you sure you are not thinking about 2011, not 2012? Because that is what we are discussing, the present. Mike Johns - which community is the board concentrating on while ignoring the other two? This is a revelation for us KO parents, do tell.
Erin Faulk October 04, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Guys, my understanding is that there's no written proof—either in support of or against the idea—that there might be two account books. Considering that, let's drop the topic for now, because it doesn't seem like we've really got the facts for it. These meetings being held by the administration might be a good place to voice those type of concerns, though. I am planning to attend and cover those meetings for Patch, so hopefully some questions will be answered. Until then, let's cool it with the attacks and keep the conversation civil. Thanks, guys.
Erin Faulk October 04, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Joe, I have addressed this topic with Mike Johns. Please feel free to continue commenting on the topic of the article, but please respect that I have handled this issue and it is not necessary for you to keep directing statements about this topic to Mike Johns. Thanks.
Joe Hartnett October 05, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Ms. Faulk, I am happy to let this matter rest as you requested. But, I do feel that for full disclosure, it should be noted that Mr. Johns’ initial comment on this thread has since been deleted. I don’t know if you did that, or if he did that himself, but it’s unfair to have the rest of our comments in this public arena with no context from which other readers can form their opinions. His first posting included his accusation that instigated the discussions in the following posts. If there is no notation that his first posting ever even existed, then I don’t think it’s fair to our responsive posts, as new readers will be unable to accurately contextualize what really happened.
Erin Faulk October 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Joe, Mike Johns deleted his comment himself. Please respect that I am the editor of this site and that I am overseeing this thread, and taking action as needed. Continued comments on this topic will be deleted, as I have now addressed this topic both publicly in this comment stream and privately with some of the individuals involved.
Jerry Proctor October 09, 2012 at 01:42 AM
It will be interesting to see if this new administration analyzes what it costs to keep Aiken open and what it would save to consolidate in Dormont Elementary. Heat, electric, custodians, maintenance, one fewer principal, and efficiecies in teacher staffing could save big $$$. Franky, if they want to keep Aiken open and believe educational benefits for the students attending this school are worth it, that is fine. Just be intellectually honest about it and explain what it costs. Dormont's kids have been treated like second class citizens since the distric was formed, so let's just let that continue. This is not my opinion. This is a fact and the numbers prove it. I am not trying to be divisive here, but as many from Green Tree have told me, they pay more in taxes so they should get their way.
Nazy H October 09, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Jerry - they aren't analyzing any closure! That is not an option and hasn't been for almost a year. You need to give up this line of thinking, it just isn't going to happen. Dr. Stropkaj made several references to the consolidation topic. He said the idea had been "plaguing" the district, he was "really glad we didn't" and "It is not going to happen." He mentioned our enrollment is now at 2033 and he would be wondering where to put all the kids if consolidation had occurred. Dr. Stropkaj has obviously studied the facts of this issue and understands what is in KO's best interests. Not going to happen, Jerry! Straight from the superintendent. This has nothing to do with perceived politics between the communities. It just isn't there. Nor is this idea that Dormont's kids being treated differently, that just isn't true. There are no facts or numbers that prove anything you state. Whatever individuals may think, ultimately it is the people in charge that make these kinds of decisions, not opinions by citizens.
Patty Conlon October 09, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Mr Proctor, Might I suggest you bring your comments and questions directly to the superintendent. He was hired by the board, all 9 of them, to bring his expertise to our troubled district. I will eagerly attend tomorrow's meeting to hear his ideas. I'll suggest you do the same, rather than speculate here.
Drew Lehman October 09, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Jerry you stated- "Dormont's kids have been treated like second class citizens" this is incorrect. The students in Dormont have been treated as well or better than others in the district. Education/curriculum (check), facilities (check) staffing (big check). Couldn't be more happy with the education that my children received while at Dormont Elementary, The teachers and staff really cared and the PFO has been fantastic behind the scenes assisting wherever and whenever needed.
Jerry Proctor October 09, 2012 at 05:33 PM
This is a great discussion. My points about Dormont Elementary students being treated like second class citizens is based upon the following: 1) They have to walk to school. Why can't Aiken kids walk to school? We could save transportation $$$. 2) Class sizes have historically been larger. 3) Admin costs per student are much higher. We have a full time principal and full time secretary for a building the size of Aiken? Dormont could easily absorb Aiken and not add any admin or secretaries and only add about 5 teachers. I have no problem if the district wants to keep Aiken open. Just pass a budget that funds the expenditures. KO's new board members refused to make a genuine effort to balance the budget. This year we have a significant deficit, just like the federal government. You can't have it both ways, either cut the budget or raise taxes. Frankly, I don't care which path is chosen. Just make a decision that does not cause financial ruin.
Nazy H October 09, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Jerry - 1. Dormont kids are bussed to Dormont if they live on the other side of W Liberty. Why Aiken kids get bussed, I don't know. If I was to guess, it is because Aiken itself sits on a very busy/confusing road and walking even from a block away would be a safety issue trying to get across Greentree Rd. 2. Dormont's class sizes are equivalent to Aiken and Myrtle. Myrtle has the larger class sizes, per a board meeting earlier this year that discussed staffing levels. 3. I don't agree, taking admin costs per building when the district is so small isn't fair. If Aiken kids came to Dormont, that is too many kids for one principal, so we would use the Aiken principal as a vice principal, same for secretaries. So it is a wash and per staff and teacher contracts, no staff was to lose their jobs under consolidation. Again, the argument is not accurate, just opinions. I beg to differ, Jerry, you seem very upset that Aiken is open and will continue to stay open. Yes, the board has tried very hard to make the numbers work. Please attend a board meeting to see for yourself. Again, don't make calls like this until you have actually attended meetings, including tomorrow, where you can ask these questions and get your answers once and for all.
Jerry Proctor October 10, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I had hoped to attend tonight but unless I get off early from my part time job at Home Depot, I won't be able to make it. I am supposed be working 4 til close tonight, but sometimes they take volunteers to go home early.
Mike Johns December 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Those numbers are nearly 13 years old. Anything more recent? I'm sure the Allegheny Intermediate Unit would be willing to provide both accurate and current numbers.

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