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North Hills Superintendent: Heartland Homes Development of Highland CC Won't Significantly Impact District

Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino said the school district can easily absorb the projected number of students coming from the proposed 300 homes and townhouses.

If developers win approval to build 300 homes and townhouses on the 117 acres of the former Highland Country Club, North Hills Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino said the district would easily be able to handle the influx of new students.

"The demographic studies that they're showing, based on the price of the housing, the type of housing and style, doesn't create a significant impact on our schools," said Mannarino. "We have room in our schools, they may just not be at Highcliff or at West View."

Mannarino said if push came to shove, the district could always consider reopening Seville Elementary, which closed in 2010.

"That's also the reason we've never even had a conversation about selling Seville," he said. "In the event that the population explodes, and we're looking at 450 to 500 graduating classes again, then you'd have a safety valve in Seville." 

Mannarino admits that once all of the Heartland Homes are built, some elementary redistricting may be necessary, but it's much too early to say for sure.

"The reality is that we have four districts now, four elementary schools, four small districts," said Mannarino. "We're going to have to talk about the fact that that worked for 2008. It might not necessarily work based upon what neighborhoods students are coming out of in 2015."

As far as the tax base, Mannarino said the Heartland plan is good news for the district.

"On the revenue side it is a major, major benefit," he said.

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AnonymousNorthHills December 06, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I do think with this devolopment and the Evergreen Townhomes devlopement AND the Cemetary Lanes Townhomes that our schools will FILLED beyond means. This will affect everyone's kids in the North Hills. I guess kids do not matter to North Hills!
John Schalcosky December 06, 2012 at 03:03 PM
It will increase slightly BUT remember that a majority of people who buy these upscale town homes typically are younger professional families with no children, according to statistics.
Kevin December 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM
From my understanding they cant sell Seville if they wanted to . Something about it being donated to the school district . Sounds like between them and the township all they are seeing is dollar signs .
Ross Resident December 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I live in Evergreen. John, you are most right, but there are almost as many older residents who are beyond child rearing years as there are young professionals in the plan. To my knowledge, there are no children of school age in the plan. Several infants and toddlers are in rental units, which indicates they are not long term. I have no idea how the Cemetery Lane development will impact things, but don't count Evergreen... there are only 27 units and I doubt there will ever be many kids.
class of 83 December 06, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The Highland Country Club development may not have as many children as other areas, but you can’t say that there will be minimal impact on the North Hills system. If just ¼ of the 300 homes have only one school age child, that will put 75 kids into the system. The four elementary schools are all pushing maximum capacity now – an increase of even 75 will cause a big impact. Classroom size is near max – 25 students. If there are more than 25 in a class, the school must pay a teacher’s aide. They do not have the $ for that and in the newly remodeled schools they reduced the classrooms square footage so your kids will be squashed like sardines. This past September at least one of the elementary schools had to scramble for space to add an un-anticipated 5th kindergarten classroom. Are trailers in the parking lots coming back next year?
class of 83 December 06, 2012 at 05:53 PM
and more... The superintendent mentions using Seville in case of a “population explosion” with graduating classes of 450-500. That may possibly alleviate a crisis in the elementaries, but how would that work with his plan to have grades 9-12 in one building starting next year? 2000 kids in that one building? It didn’t work very well in the early 80’s when they had two grades in the building with 850-900 kids in the graduating classes and it won’t work now. Their grand redistricting/consolidation plan of 2008 – did they not consider that there might be population growth???? Also, they say may have to eliminate some educational programs (probably Art and maybe more) due to Gov. Corbett, however there is no talk of reducing the number of the administration personnel – and I do not mean getting rid of more secretaries. As far as I am concerned, the school board and admins have made one mistake after another and the kids and their parents will pay for it.
Pines Plaza Lanes December 06, 2012 at 06:33 PM
All need to look at your neighbors in Ohio Twp. That development was not supposed to impact schools either. They are now building another elemetary school while students are educated in trailers. The high school is looking for addtional room due to over crowding and increased class sizes. Taxes are out of control and the district that was once cash steady is now crying poor and cutting everything!!! Don't believe the builders!! assume AT LEAST one student per home. How does that impact things? How does that impact the recently announced busing savings? Always more impact than the current residents are lead to believe!!
John Schalcosky December 06, 2012 at 08:11 PM
And yet this would bring a potential 600 new customers to your small business (which I love by the way & have been going there since I was like 8 years old)!
Kevin Y. December 06, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Keep in mind the Highland Country Club development is expected to have an assessed value of $90 million. That should bring in about $2 million a year in taxes for the North Hills School District. I think they could afford additional teachers with that amount of money... Of course, if they have to reopen Seville it's a whole new ballgame when it comes to finances. And I think it more likely that the new development will bring in 300 kids than just 75...
Virgough December 07, 2012 at 10:29 AM
The impact on the school system is only a part of it ... wait till they try to leave the plan on an already too busy, two lane road during rush hour. Another five or six hundred cars crowding an overtaxed (no pun intended) road system.
AnonymousNorthHills December 07, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Schools are an issue and a BIG issue. We have a lot of homes for sale in Ross Twp it is just people want to buy new. Traffic is going to suck big time and West View Borough will be the brunt of it. Another point is if they are buying these $350,000 homes they probably will go to Ben Avon Heights to shop for food and go to Cranberry Twp to shop and NOT Ross Twp. Last point with all that money we can afford new teachers and that is great however they can remove the charter that after 25 students they need an aide and our children suffer and I think there will be more like 300 kids as well and how long til you build new a new school. Cost of trailers and equipment would be an added cost.
Sam Smith December 07, 2012 at 03:00 PM
According to publicly available deed information, this parcel (10 acres more or less)was purchased by the School District of the Township of Ross on 10-23-1926 from Mr. John E. Winner for $9,000 ( a lot of money in 1926). The School District subsequently transfered a 100 foot by 203.7 foot section to the volunteer fire company in 3 parts in 1934, 1940, and 1952 (according to the deed). (Deed book 2297 - P. 709). It would further appear that the property was transfered to the name of North Hills School District in 1983 (according to the Allegheny County real estate web page for lot & block 161-L-225). Nowhere did I see anything about any property donation and there is nothing in the deed limiting ownership rights in any way.
B Concerned December 08, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This is an assumption. Not buying.
B Concerned December 08, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I think the whole thing stinks!! I didn't move near highland a few years ago so that I have to worry about increased traffic and my kid having to be shipped off to possibly Seville when I live close to Highcliff. I dont need my property taxes increasing again because my home value is evaluated to be higher that what it can be sold for. Some developement would be ok but not to the extent that is being spoke of.And pulling out of Casper onto Gass Rd is going to be much less safer. Something should have been done about that by now. If the comment about what happened in Ohio Township is true, well.....where is that Uhaul?
John Schalcosky December 08, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Sam Smith - Thanks for the during the research!! I am very impressed!!

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