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On Halloween, Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, announced that he's attempting again to close Schenley High School and move its students out of Oakland into existing Middle School buildings in East Liberty and the Hill District
 
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11-11-07 Aggressive support vowed to save Schenley

 
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:25 am    Post subject: 11-11-07 Aggressive support vowed to save Schenley Reply with quote


Aggressive support vowed to save Schenley

By Bobby Kerlik
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, November 11, 2007


Paul Ostfield, a member of Schenley High School's class of 1951, addresses the crowd during the Save Our School meeting on Saturday.
Photo by Sidney L. Davis/Tribune-Review


Parents, students and alumni attend Saturday's Save Our School meeting about the closing of Schenley High School.
Photo by Sidney L. Davis/Tribune-Review

Schenley High School junior Sean Thomas said Saturday that closing his 91-year-old school would destroy more than the bricks-and-mortar building.

"It's about diversity. If you split us up you lose out," said Thomas, 16, of the Hill District. "It's getting us prepared for the workforce. We're not going to be working with all black people or all white people."

Thomas, who is enrolled in the school's International Baccalaureate program, was one of about 90 people who gathered to plot strategy to stop the Pittsburgh Public Schools board from approving a reorganization plan that would close the building, which administrators say needs $64.3 million in repairs.

Alumni, parents and students met for three hours yesterday in Pitt's Cathedral of Learning and formed five committees, including a fundraising committee to help raise money for repairs. That committee will look into exploring grant options and funding from public/private partnerships and national historic landmark groups and local foundations.

"As a parent, I value the mix of students with the (International Baccalaureate) program and I value Schenley's location -- in the education center of the city near Pitt and CMU," said Jennifer England, 39, of Greenfield, whose son is a sophomore. "Why can't they sell some of the closed schools?"

City schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt recommended closing Schenley because of the cost to remove asbestos and repair its mechanical and ventilation systems. The school board has scheduled a vote on closing Schenley on Feb. 27.

Group organizers of Save Our School said the strategy will be to save the building first and then focus on keeping the student body together at Schenley.

County Councilman Bill Robinson, 65, of the Hill District, a 1960 Schenley graduate, said he hopes an alumni network can be established to funnel donations.

"I'm not saying we can raise $64 million but there is a strong alumni base out there," Robinson said.

Organizers encouraged students to form student opposition as well using networking sites such as Facebook.com to get the word out.

"We're like a family," said junior Eric Carter, 16, of the Hill District. "If you break up the school, you lose everything it stands for."

Bobby Kerlik can be reached at bkerlik@tribweb.com or 412-391-0927.


Images and text copyright 2007 by The Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
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