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KO Board to Reconsider Activity Bus Decision

After-school activity buses were eliminated in the Keystone Oaks School District, but the school board is planning to discuss the situation.

For budgetary purposes, eliminated after-school activity buses for the 2012-13 school year.

But after residents raised concerns at last week's school board meeting, the board plans to reconsider the issue and look at other options for providing transportation from after-school activities.

Two activity buses ran until 5:30 p.m., making two runs to each of the three boroughs that feed into the district. Eliminating the two buses resulted in a $50,000 savings for the school district.

Depending on the day or activity, the number of students riding the buses could range from five to 25, school officials said. Often, rush hour traffic meant it took as long as 45 minutes to bus the first round of students from the school to the outlying communities, which made the buses late to pick up the second round.

Board President Gary Alward said Thursday that district officials had received numerous calls and complaints about the decision, and some of those parents were at the meeting.

"My main concern is the students who do after school tutoring, which affects kids on the early bus," one mother said. "I am glad to hear that the school board might re-look at this."

Board members suggested running one bus instead of two, running a smaller bus, or charging a small fee for students to ride. District Public Relations Director Jim Cromie said the options likely would be based on what the district could fit into the budget, which was passed in June and does not account for running activity buses.

He said the discussion likely will come up at the board's Finance and Facilities Committee meeting, and at the next school board meeting. Committee meetings are open to the public. Dates and times can be found on the calendar at the Keystone Oaks website.

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Robert McKenna August 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Who thought that the 50K savings in eliminating these buses would result in greater savings than the hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be saved from closing the smallest K - 5 building in Allegheny County? Had to be the work of the three man SOS braintrust. They don't have a clue what they're doing and clearly don't know what's best for the DISTRICT. Thank you Mr. Alward for your continued leadership to reconsider their foolish and anti-student decision.
Drew Lehman August 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Robert, the three votes of the new board members are not enough to change/eliminate anything. Clearly there was some support for this decision from other board members as well. I support all of our board members. They decided to give up their time and energy to make our district better for the students. Anybody can type derisive comments on a blog behind a fake name, these guys all had the guts to roll up their sleeves and go to work for the taxpayers and students. I applaud them.
Mike Johns August 29, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I don't think anyone here is questioning the fact that the board devotes countless hours to an often thankless unpaid position. But if you strip away your blind loyality to "all of our board" you can't be blind to the fact that this dicision goes against what is good for kids. You and I both know where the real money is and it's not in activities buses. I believe "all of our board" also knows where the real money is. Hopefully, our new superintendent will help "all of our board" figure that out before it's too late. With respect to "derisive comments". . .I've see far worse posted here by those you support. Where were you when that was going on? That was acceptable to you? It's a two way street Drew.
Drew Lehman August 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Mike could you give me an example of derisive comments by someone that I have supported? Any one will do. I support the board because they have a tough job to do and because people like Mr McKenna hide behind a fake name and shoot arrows at those who try, while doing nothing himself.
Mike Johns August 29, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I didn't say you openly supported them Drew. You just didn't jump all over them like you have with Robert. Your silence - your lack of reprimanding posts - supported them as opposed to your attacks and accusatory comments directed at Robert. Your position is very clear. All you need to do is search this site to get a taste of the venom that they and their minios have spewed. Do we all have to now produce a birth certificate or photo id? I'll accept Robert for who he is just like I accept all posters here for who they are - even if i don't agree with them. Let the board members fight their own battles Drew.
Joe Hartnett August 30, 2012 at 05:38 PM
In your repeated attempts to smear Finucan, Hommrich, and Domaklik, you have once again been caught misstating the facts. You incorrectly attribute the bus cuts to these three, calling it “their foolish and anti-student decision”. That is a lie, because it was not their decision. The funding for the activity busses was cut from this year’s budget. As stated in a previous Patch article, http://dormont-brookline.patch.com/articles/no-tax-increase-in-keystone-oaks-budget Finucan, Hommrich, and Domalik all voted AGAINST this budget. Your attempt to link them to the activity bus decision is dishonest, and your animosity is obviously based on something beyond their overturning of the District consolidation. These three made up only half of the six who voted to overturn consolidation, yet you selectively only target them in your repeated attacks.
Joe Hartnett August 30, 2012 at 05:43 PM
(Continued from previous reply) You laud Gary Alward (who also voted to overturn the District consolidation) for his desire to reconsider the cutting of the activity busses, but it was Alward who voted to approve the budget that cut their funding. It was actually Dave Hommrich that brought up this issue at last week’s meeting, with the thought of adding the busses once again. Only then did Mr. Alward give any consideration to reversing what he had already approved. Facts matter. Regardless of whatever fuels your personal grudges against Finucan, Hommrich, and Domalik, you should not stoop to misrepresenting their actions.
Joe Hartnett August 30, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Mr. Lehman asked for one example of derisive comments and you provided none. In a previous posting you accused me of “putting words in other peoples mouths”, but when I asked for one specific example, you provided none. http://dormont-brookline.patch.com/articles/no-tax-increase-in-keystone-oaks-budget If you expect readers to take you seriously you need to back up what you post.
Gina Dedig August 30, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Don't waste your breath on McKenna. He doesn't even have the nerve to use his own name so anything & everything he says is worthless.
Nazy H August 30, 2012 at 09:00 PM
If "Robert" had bothered to attend the first board meeting on Education this year, you would have heard that Dr. Stropkaj is a staunch supporter of neighborhood schools, that means to me that closing schools is officially off the table, it would cost more to close schools than to keep them open. Being that while you were on the board, "Robert," you made sure the teacher contracts were renegotiated early and at a higher than average pay scale for the county (look it up, I did), as well as topped-out teacher pay grades are on par with Fox Chapel (over $100k-look it up) and added to the debt load we carry by blindly approving bloated budgets year after year, you were successful in making sure KO will be bankrupt in 2 or 4 years. So it seems that YOU are to blame now that students aren't getting what they need, like activity buses. Stop pointing your jealous finger at the elected officials who took your place and are trying to clean up your mess. BTW, Aiken ISN'T the smallest school in Allegheny county, look it up. BTW, Alward had nothing to do with the activities bus being taken away, it was YOUR mismanagement prior to a new school board and superintendent who are going to be taking months/years to fix what you have done, "ROBERT." If you want a person in charge (who you put there) FOSTER is to blame, she was acting superintendent at the time. BTW, we all know who you are and think less of you each time you post.
Jerry Proctor August 31, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I didn't know KO teachers make as much as Fox Chapel teachers. In fact, they don't. I didn't know KO issued debt to balance their budget. In fact they don't. I didn't know it would cost more to close schools than keep them open. That is because it won't. I didn't know the superintendent dictated what schools stay open. That is because he doesn't.
Nazy H August 31, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Sorry Jerry, facts are getting in the way of your argument: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/pay-for-some-teachers-set-to-exceed-100000-251066/ I didn't say issued debt to balance budget, I said " added to the debt load we carry by blindly approving bloated budgets year after year" which is why we are going to go bankrupt in 2-4 years. This is debt KO has had for many years and it is finally time to pay the piper. Yes, you need to contact Dan Domalik of the board who presented factual information to the public during a school board PROVING that would cost $50 more per child to educate them if there are 2 schools closed, due to the debt load and teacher contracts. Fact. The board dictated the schools stay open when they voted in December. Fact. The communities don't want them closed, the board doesn't want them closed and now the new superintendent doesn't want them closed. Fact. Sorry that you don't want to accept facts, because you don't want them to be true. The closing of the schools issue is dead. Fact.
Nazy H August 31, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Here is the teacher salary information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Oaks_School_District "In 2009, Keystone Oaks School District reported employing over 250 teachers with a median salary of $61,793 and a top salary of $134,535.[90] " "In 2011, the average teacher salary in Keystone Oaks SD was $69,880 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $21,375 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $81,255.[92]" "In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $59,200 for 180 days worked. The district ranked fourteenth in Allegheny County for average teacher salary in 2007. The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania was $54,977.[94] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[95] " In 2008, the administration reported spending $14,701 per pupil which ranked 71st among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.[98] In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $18,239.23.[99] Reserves' http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-Teacher/l-Pittsburgh%2C+PA "The average salary for teacher jobs in Pittsburgh, PA is $41,000. http://www.bls.gov/ro3/oespateachers.htm Pittsburgh-sec: $57,210, mid: $57,170 ele: $55,280 These figures don't include the new contract, signed in Nov 2011.
DormontMOM August 31, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Teachers should be paid well no matter what school district they are in. You want your children to be succesful adults contributing to society ,then you need good teachers.
Nazy H August 31, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Sure, if the district can afford it. KO can't. These highly paid teachers won't be paid anything when the district goes bankrupt in 2-4 years. And I have not had all "good" teachers in KO, but yet, my taxes are going to their salary, regardless of quality.
Jerry Proctor September 12, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I stand by my previous comments. And quoting wikipedia? Pleeeeaazzzzee! And who says the district can't afford it???? We have been hearing bankruptcy for years. Domalik's claims are a joke. What qualifies him as an expert in such matters???
Nazy H September 12, 2012 at 05:40 PM
ahh, what is your problem with wikipedia? i also posted facts besides wikipedia, so what is the issue with facts? who says we can't afford it? the new financial planner did this summer based on FACTS that we are headed for bankruptsy in 2 to 4 years. Dan doesn't claim to be an expert, he just happened to be the one to add up FACTS. you need to attend more board meetings if you are going to claim these people's FACTS are wrong. so far you have not given any data supporting that KO can afford it, and are choosing not to implement an activity bus. i can't see your opinions as facts without them. right now you just come off as being a loudmouth spouting off about things you do't know about.
Jerry Proctor September 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Nazy- the projections from the new financial planner (our new transient business manager) is based upon unknowns on the revenue side. I know the game. Paint a situation that is impossible. Blame the previous regime. Then be a hero when you save the day. What will property assessments be in 2 years? State aid? Fees from real estate transfers? All of these are unknowns. You can make the budget projections tell any story you desire.
Nazy H September 13, 2012 at 01:11 PM
No, Jerry, it doesn't matter the revenue, the bills are piled so high it would take a lot more than the maxed out projections to overcome. And even at that point, we are only escaping bankruptcy for an additional 2 years. I don't know what you are getting at with "transient business manager," he was the new hire after Walker retired. Are you implying he is a temp? Really, start coming to board meetings instead of getting your info from a stranger's comments on the Patch. Also know, the state will be investigating KO when it does it's yearly audit this fall for misappropriation of funds. That is a fact, the "previous regime" did that, not the new people.
Jerry Proctor September 14, 2012 at 06:08 PM
My transient comment had to do with the fact that our new business manager has held this position in multiple districts. This may mean that he is extremely good and received many job offers and is in very high demand. Or it may mean something else. I have been going to KO board meetings for over 20 years. I remember when we had one of the lowest millage rates in the county. I also remember doom and gloom predictions almost annually since we closed and consolidated schools almost 20 years ago. So please, I do not need a lecture. State audit???? Please. Don't go jumping to conclusions about the "previous regime". You may someday look back on that time as the good old days.
Nazy H September 14, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Sorry, still not following you on the transient business manager thing and why that is important to how he sees the financials on the budget. I don't believe you have been going to board meetings for 20 years, because the "doom and gloom" was only from June of this year, Walker declared us stable and didn't need to raise taxes for the upcoming year in November. And previous to that, she touted positives all over the place, how KO was overcoming state cuts and such, so no, you have not come to board meetings, at least in KO, if you have been hearing "doom and gloom" all this time. Maybe you went to city schools board meetings? Yes, apparently you do need a lecture. You don't have correct information. Again, what are you getting at with the state audit? Do you not believe the state will be looking into Walker taking our money when she wasn't contractually allowed to have it? I have a letter from the state saying otherwise. I am not jumping to conclusions about anything, I base my statements on facts, I wish you could do the same. No, I will NOT look back on any time that the "old regime" as the good old days, they were breaking laws, intimidating parents, hurting kids, overspending and wasting taxpayer money. Don't go jumping to conclusions about what I think, you will just end up looking stupid.

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