OT: WPIAL HS Sports are a mess

Duneaux Harm

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FK, I have not looked At WPIAL alignments in a while. Even while still living in PA. Since I lived in North Huntingdon, I was shocked that Norwin and Penn Trafford are no longer in same conference. Even more shocked to see that Norwin has a really bad, losing record in girls soccer. Never ever would have thought that.

I live in Arizona now and decided to look at their high school football alignments. I believe that their divisions 6A, 5A, etc are divided up through the state so that you play anyone within 6A no matter what. So there are seven, 6A divisions and looking at “conference” games so far there is little regional flavoring. A team in Tucson can very easily play a team from Phoenix on a given weekend.

What the most interesting thing to be is that the playoffs have an Open Division. So the top teams from 6A, 5A, and 4A all are ranked and the highest ones in the three divisions go on to the Open Playoffs. Then they do a 6A playoff with the remaining teams, etc.

Aldo the two school districts around me are Vail and Tucson. And each of those have five to eight high schools in them. So it is way different than PA.
 
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Upg bobcat

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The issue, too, is that the eastern part of the state is just more populated (which brings us full circle). Latrobe and Greensburg combined have just north of 20,000 total population, and while both have people living outside of the city limits, it’s not like there are extensive strings of suburbs. The Johnstown MSA and the Altoona MSA each have about 125,000 people. There’s definitely some “build it and they’ll come” involved, but the numbers are just way different than out east.

Meanwhile, the Harrisburg-Carlisle MSA and the Lancaster MSA each have 500,000+ people, and are both located along the upgraded Amtrak line. If anything, I think there would be a tremendous amount of value in seriously exploring a Harrisburg-York-Baltimore rapid transit line, since the York MSA also has 450,000 people. They’re already planning on restoring Amtrak service to Reading, and they’ve gotta explore the same for the Lehigh Valley.
I hear you on the smaller population of our area, but I think it could get major use despite the smaller population. Route 22 is not an interstate, nor is Route 30. I guess Greensburg is kinda close to the Irwin interchange on the turnpike, but Latrobe, Altoona, and Johnstown are not close to interstate highways with relatively straight lines connections to Pittsburgh. A high speed mass transit line would really be beneficial IMO. The usefulness of the line would make it so valuable that I think ridership would be high enough to make it worth the investment.
 

pittchagg

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I hear you on the smaller population of our area, but I think it could get major use despite the smaller population. Route 22 is not an interstate, nor is Route 30. I guess Greensburg is kinda close to the Irwin interchange on the turnpike, but Latrobe, Altoona, and Johnstown are not close to interstate highways with relatively straight lines connections to Pittsburgh. A high speed mass transit line would really be beneficial IMO. The usefulness of the line would make it so valuable that I think ridership would be high enough to make it worth the investment.
I agree. To be honest, I think we should upgrade the line primarily because I think it’s our societal obligation to provide high-quality mass transit to as many people as possible, in as many different areas as possible. The Keystone East service is very highly used (and, like the Acela and Northeast Corridor service, might actually break even on operating costs) and we should ensure that access out west is good, too. I don’t expect it to be as highly used as the eastern corridor, but I don’t think that should be the standard.

My preference for the west is: (i) full overhead electrification on the western corridor and a transition away from diesel engines; (ii) upgrades to the lines, at-grade crossings, yards, etc., preferably a continuous third track dedicated to passenger use, to allow electric engines to run at close to 100mph; (iii) installation of a line to State College, opening up a population area of 150,000+; and (iv) a near-total rebuild of pretty much all of the stations along the route to bring them up to modern standards, especially Pittsburgh. In exchange, I’d move the eastern terminus for the route to Philadelphia instead of New York (it’s faster and cheaper to transfer in Philadelphia anyway). You’d have a battle of a lifetime to get the freight railroad on board for the first two, though.
 

Upg bobcat

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I agree. To be honest, I think we should upgrade the line primarily because I think it’s our societal obligation to provide high-quality mass transit to as many people as possible, in as many different areas as possible. The Keystone East service is very highly used (and, like the Acela and Northeast Corridor service, might actually break even on operating costs) and we should ensure that access out west is good, too. I don’t expect it to be as highly used as the eastern corridor, but I don’t think that should be the standard.

My preference for the west is: (i) full overhead electrification on the western corridor and a transition away from diesel engines; (ii) upgrades to the lines, at-grade crossings, yards, etc., preferably a continuous third track dedicated to passenger use, to allow electric engines to run at close to 100mph; (iii) installation of a line to State College, opening up a population area of 150,000+; and (iv) a near-total rebuild of pretty much all of the stations along the route to bring them up to modern standards, especially Pittsburgh. In exchange, I’d move the eastern terminus for the route to Philadelphia instead of New York (it’s faster and cheaper to transfer in Philadelphia anyway). You’d have a battle of a lifetime to get the freight railroad on board for the first two, though.
The continuous third track is probably the only way to get the freight rail lines on board, but I'm not sure if the right of way is big enough for that in a lot of spots.
 

PittPharm2002

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I agree. And there’s always a need to go into the home office. All I’m saying is that feasibility studies might not show that mass transit expansion is profitable because the commuter pool is significantly smaller than it was.
Perhaps that’s the primary problem with looking at public transportation as a for profit enterprise , rather than the common good it is?
 

PittPharm2002

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Are you doing identity politics again, which of course you never do. I am saying "Plum" because most of the Riverview kids are closer to Plum HS.
And Penn hills is literally down the road from riverview .
This isn’t identity its geography .
It’s less than 6 miles between those schools .
So why are you selecting Plum instead ?
Is it because of your identity politics ?
Isn’t it better to improve education for more people ?
 

4382

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No idea. Probably political. Consolidation means less teachers jobs I assume. But I’m not interested in the politics of it. Just was interested in a sporting discussion around it.
It the opposite. It the parents who fight it more than the teachers. They have some of the dumbest excuses like losing college scholarships because their kid won’t start in football. There is also the racial and socioeconomic excuse that people don’t want it.
In eastern PA they've split districts not combined them because they've gotten so big.

See

Downingtown - East/West

CB West/CB East/CB South

Council Rock North/Council Rock South

Reading High should have been split 2 decades ago but does anyone in Berks want to merger with them? Same goes with McCaskey and Harrisburg.
Those districts did not split. They split high schools but not districts. Harrisburg school district is one of the smaller ones in the area.
 
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Fk_Pitt

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And Penn hills is literally down the road from riverview .
This isn’t identity its geography .
It’s less than 6 miles between those schools .
So why are you selecting Plum instead ?
Is it because of your identity politics ?
Isn’t it better to improve education for more people ?
My lord. Just stop.
 

Parkview57

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Like, why do Monessen and Jeannette get to be their own districts? And I get that it's what both sides want, blah blah. Just saying it's silly
Nobody needs to have their own district, but is shutting down those two really going to make a difference? Are the people in those districts going to see a dramatic drop in taxes? I don't know the answer but it seems to me you still have to educate and transport the kids and I doubt after all the trouble the tax payers will see much relief.
 

pittchagg

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The continuous third track is probably the only way to get the freight rail lines on board, but I'm not sure if the right of way is big enough for that in a lot of spots.
The report that they did about ten years or so ago indicated that the ROW was fine for the most part (remember, in the PRR days, there were 3-4 tracks along the entire route), but some land acquisition would need to be done in some spots where you’d want to ease out the sharper curves to allow for higher speeds. I think they’d have a bigger problem with the overhead electrification, especially now that they’ve moved to double stacked containers.
 

PittPharm2002

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Public or private, it needs to be worth the investment.
I don’t disagree - that’s why I laughed at the utilization of an Altoona to pittsburgh line .
The investment of tax dollars should be used relative to utilization .

the bus system in pittsburgh isn’t great but it’s highly utilized
 

Sean Miller Fan

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Nobody needs to have their own district, but is shutting down those two really going to make a difference? Are the people in those districts going to see a dramatic drop in taxes? I don't know the answer but it seems to me you still have to educate and transport the kids and I doubt after all the trouble the tax payers will see much relief.
Monessen and Mapletown are the 2 smallest WPIAL school districts. Monessen, geographically, could very easily merge with either Charleroi, Belle Vernon, or Ringgold. Kids living in Monessen cannot possibly be afforded the same educational opportunities with 30 kids per grade.
 

PittPharm2002

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Monessen and Mapletown are the 2 smallest WPIAL school districts. Monessen, geographically, could very easily merge with either Charleroi, Belle Vernon, or Ringgold. Kids living in Monessen cannot possibly be afforded the same educational opportunities with 30 kids per grade.
Do you think those schools have better teachers !!?
Do you suppose I’d belle Vernon teachers and monesson teachers swapped places the results would reflect it ?
 

Saboteur II

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Part of the deal is that larger more affluent districts do not want to merge.
Montour Sto Rox
Hopewell Aliquippa
AvonWorth QV
Moon Cornell

I did not grow up or attend HS IN PA but when I bought a home in western PA I quickly came to realize that public schools were the functional equivalent of publicly funded private schools.
You can disagree if you wish, but I was told by too many people on too many occasions that there was no way they would permit a merger to occur with the Sto Rox of the world.
That is why Central Valley is such an accomplishment IMO.
 
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Fk_Pitt

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Why because owt is more interested in putting the riverview kids in a 88% white school district than an 80+% minority one- equidistant
And claims I’m using identity politics ironically ?!?
Dude, because plum and riverview makes sense geographically. You’re replying to the same post of his that proposed Clairton kids merge with TJ. The only one playing identity politics here is you, as usual.
 

Sean Miller Fan

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Do you think those schools have better teachers !!?
Do you suppose I’d belle Vernon teachers and monesson teachers swapped places the results would reflect it ?
No, there is very little difference in teachers between districts. But Monessen kids could take more class offerings at a bigger school. Does Monessen have Trig, Calc, AP Bio? An ambitious Monessen kid could do better elsewhere. Not to mention the extracurriculars.
 

Parkview57

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Kids living in Monessen cannot possibly be afforded the same educational opportunities with 30 kids per grade.
Perhaps in theory, but unless the bigger school districts have unlimited resources, what seems like more opportunities usually gets dwindled down because of scheduling conflicts. There are only so many periods in a day, and only so many teachers available to teach courses outside of a basic (basic including the range of core subjects) curriculum.
 

TheWerewolfFromTwilight

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Nobody needs to have their own district, but is shutting down those two really going to make a difference? Are the people in those districts going to see a dramatic drop in taxes? I don't know the answer but it seems to me you still have to educate and transport the kids and I doubt after all the trouble the tax payers will see much relief.

I would have to imagine there would be some reduction. A quick Google search tells me Monessen is spending about $15 million per year on its schools (K-12). I have no idea how much of the $17 million it brings in each year is funded from its own citizens' (about 7,200 of them) taxes, but it seems like you could integrate them in with the surrounding districts for very little added costs. What are the costs if they merge with Belle Vernon? A few more teachers, a few more bus routes, etc. But that seems like pennies as compared to maintaining your own functioning district. Plus it would now be split among a larger base of people, reducing everyone's taxes.
 

4382

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What is driving the growth in that Harrisburg/York/Chambersburg area? Where do the people work? Are these commuter suburbs of the Greater DC region?
Government jobs and transportation. This area is very attractive because of a ton of state jobs along with a lot of federal jobs. It a very prized area for military jobs because the two major depots are on the Philly and DC pay scale. So you will see a lot of people move out of those areas for these jobs because they make the same but the cost of living is far cheaper. Then many military retire to the area because pension are not taxed and access to military benefits.

The transportation and logistics industry is booming here because of the major highways. Warehouses and distribution centers are popping up everywhere.

The other thing I am seeing a ton of is teleworkers moving here. You have the cheap cost of living and can be in Philly, NYC, Baltimore and DC in under 3 hours. Home prices went up 33% since the pandemic but it still cheaper than many areas.
 

Parkview57

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Not to mention the extracurriculars
I am get the feeling you don't know what your talking about. At small schools, kids get to participate in many things, the school play, the band/football, etc. small schools must share their kids. At larger schools, kids compete and get left behind because there is no need to share kids. i.e, You play basketball at a large school, you won't be excused to go practice on the Spring Play, small schools work around it, in my experience.
 

TempleBAPittMPA

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Are there not major teaching shortages in PA? So a school like McKeesport is losing population... okay, you're now combined with East Allegheny, Duquesne (currently ceding from West Mifflin), and South Allegheny.

West Mifflin overbuilt their new high school... okay, you're merged with Steel Valley.
Duquesne and West Mifflin should have merged years ago. That actually was one of the state proposals from the 1960s, but that was fought, ironically, by Duquesne, all the way to the Supreme Court (I can't remember whether it was the state one or the U. S. one; I was in grade school then).
 
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Upg bobcat

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Perhaps in theory, but unless the bigger school districts have unlimited resources, what seems like more opportunities usually gets dwindled down because of scheduling conflicts. There are only so many periods in a day, and only so many teachers available to teach courses outside of a basic (basic including the range of core subjects) curriculum.
I don't get your point ... it's still more opportunity. While that greater opportunity has limits on it, it's still better than even more limited, lesser opportunity.
 

TheWerewolfFromTwilight

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I understand the theory, but in practice, I don't think it works, unless he school district taking the kids is already poorly run with too much staff, which is the opposite of our thoughts.

I don't know. I'm no expert on the subject, and few of us probably are. But I also know that the answer isn't just, "Oh, that's too difficult. There's so much that goes into it. It'll never work. Etc."

Like, merging these districts is the answer.
 

TheWerewolfFromTwilight

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Duquesne and West Mifflin should have merged years ago. That actually was one of the state proposals from the 1960s, but that was fought, ironically, by Duquesne, all the way to the Supreme Court (I can't remember whether it was the state one or the U. S. one; I was in grade school then).

I believe they're merged for high school only now (well, not completely merged - I think they could choose between going to West Mifflin and East Allegheny), but Duquesne is going back to being its own high school soon (if they haven't already).
 

Parkview57

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I don't get your point
If you go to a large school, just by "general practice" , you either play football or are in the band. The Coach and band director will not excuse you to go to the other practice, they don't need the kid. In small schools, because of the limit in number of kids, a student may get to routinely do both as the leadership must work it out fr their own benefit. That has been my experience dealing with large and small schools. Not saying one is better, but you limit a kid who may excel in both?
 

Sean Miller Fan

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I am get the feeling you don't know what your talking about. At small schools, kids get to participate in many things, the school play, the band/football, etc. small schools must share their kids. At larger schools, kids compete and get left behind because there is no need to share kids. i.e, You play basketball at a large school, you won't be excused to go practice on the Spring Play, small schools work around it, in my experience.
Fair point but small schools dont offer as many sports or clubs.
 
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Upg bobcat

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I am get the feeling you don't know what your talking about. At small schools, kids get to participate in many things, the school play, the band/football, etc. small schools must share their kids. At larger schools, kids compete and get left behind because there is no need to share kids. i.e, You play basketball at a large school, you won't be excused to go practice on the Spring Play, small schools work around it, in my experience.
I am sure there is some disagreement, but I don't think that Western PA kids are getting ahead in the world because of the smaller districts, despite more opportunity to participate in extracurriculars that smaller classes offer. For example, my understanding is that many universities with very low acceptance rates are not looking for students that are jacks of all trades, but are looking for a kid that is a superstar in one thing.
 
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Fk_Pitt

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Duquesne and West Mifflin should have merged years ago. That actually was one of the state proposals from the 1960s, but that was fought, ironically, by Duquesne, all the way to the Supreme Court (I can't remember whether it was the state one or the U. S. one; I was in grade school then).
Just curious, Temple, as someone close to that situation, what do you think would have been the biproduct of that merger had it happened . Aside from sports. Would the kids of Duquesne and the community been any better off?
 

TempleBAPittMPA

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I believe they're merged for high school only now (well, not completely merged - I think they could choose between going to West Mifflin and East Allegheny), but Duquesne is going back to being its own high school soon (if they haven't already).
It would truly be amazing if they're able to restore that. The main reason they had to shut down the high school was a series of fiscal management (mismanagement) decisions that in my opinion bordered on the criminal.
 

TheWerewolfFromTwilight

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I would imagine a lot of these school boards are leading the surge against these mergers in many cases. I know a dude who graduated the year after me and was cool with a lot of the guys on the board at a district. He was given a newly-created "Parks Director" position in the district, making like 80 grand right out of college (would probably be like 120 grand today). He's only gone up the chain since then. Lots of nepotism among these boards, and they love to control money.
 

TheWerewolfFromTwilight

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It would truly be amazing if they're able to restore that. The main reason they had to shut down the high school was a series of fiscal management (mismanagement) decisions that in my opinion bordered on the criminal.

I just asked someone. Apparently they've already taken back 7th and 8th grade (I didn't even know those grades were merged), and they're planning on high school grades next. But why?
 

PittPharm2002

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Dude, because plum and riverview makes sense geographically. You’re replying to the same post of his that proposed Clairton kids merge with TJ. The only one playing identity politics here is you, as usual.
The high schools are literally both 6 miles from riverview
 

TempleBAPittMPA

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Just curious, Temple, as someone close to that situation, what do you think would have been the biproduct of that merger had it happened . Aside from sports. Would the kids of Duquesne and the community been any better off?
Had it gone through, I would have gone through the merged district for approximately my last six or seven years. I certainly would have had more educational resources available to me. Duquesne High School left me with the impression that I was smart. Perhaps I was, but when I got to college, I got the rude awakening that I was not prepared.
 
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Fk_Pitt

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The high schools are literally both 6 miles from riverview
So what? He was just presenting scenarios. You have to dig into it deeper and make it a race issue. It’s what you guys do. What’s your reaction to him suggesting Clairton merge with TJ?