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A Message from Dr. Mannarino Regarding Elementary Student Population
Dear North Hills families,

Since the formation of North Hills School District, our student population has ebbed and flowed. These substantial increases and decreases have been addressed in numerous ways over the past few decades including the construction, closure and renovation of district buildings, redistricting of neighborhoods and the reconfiguration of grade-levels in specific buildings.

Currently, we are faced with what I call a “good problem.” Our elementary student population climbed to 2,546 students this school year, and we have reached the highest elementary enrollment number since the 1997-98 school year. This is a “good problem” because I believe that people are seeing and hearing the incredible things we are doing in education resulting in their decisions to choose NHSD and purchase homes in our district.

We have been aware of this expected growth in our elementary student population and based on our demographer’s estimate, North Hills’ enrollment is projected to grow through 2025. Over the past few years, we have experienced a higher growth rate than anticipated and have addressed this growth in numerous ways including redistricting elementary borders for the 2016-17 school year, constructing a two-story addition at McIntyre Elementary in 2017-18 and relocating special education programs to different elementary buildings.

This school year, we have two elementary buildings that are operating at greater than 98% capacity and a third that is operating at 93% capacity. We again need to consider viable options to increase capacity in our elementary buildings for the future. It is HIGHLY unlikely that these options will be necessary for the 2019-20 school year.

I have researched seven different options to remedy our “good problem” including:

  • Redistricting Elementary Attendance Areas
  • Elementary Grade Reconfiguration to 2 Primary Buildings (K-2) and 2 Upper Elementary Buildings (3-6)
  • Ross Elementary School Addition
  • Highcliff Elementary School Addition
  • Reduce Full-Day Kindergarten to Half-Day Kindergarten
  • Elementary Class Size Increase
  • District Grade Configuration to Move Grade 6 to North Hills Middle School

At our next Board of Education meeting, I will present the feasibility of each of these options and make a recommendation for further examination to our board members on what I believe to be our best option. I invite you to attend this meeting on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the middle school LGI room. As always, we will welcome any questions or public comments you may have at this meeting.

If you cannot attend this meeting, we will post a video of the meeting and my presentation documents online. We also will send those documents and a link to the meeting video to our community via E-Link, the district app and on a new website under the Parents heading at nhsd.net.

This is the first step in our process, and we will be communicating with you each step of the way prior to any meetings or public presentations. Tentatively, I plan to present my final recommendation from the above options at the Jan. 11 Board of Education meeting. Please note this date is tentative as the Board of Education’s 2019 meeting schedule will be approved on Dec. 4. However, we will send out a meeting reminder prior to the anticipated Jan. 11 meeting when students and staff return from Winter Break.

As always, I look forward to partnering with each of you as we work together to best prepare our students for their future challenges and successes.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino

Superintendent

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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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