Seidenberger thanked Coenen and Jurado for sharing their ideas, saying the district will pay attention to them. Indicating changes can be made to the district’s plan, Szewczak said it is not yet a set of fully engineered documents.
But board member Julian Stolz, who voted against the Willow Lane plan, said he would like to see a new plan “that takes the extensive amount of information we received from the public into account. When you get the approval of the public, then you’ll get mine. But until then my vote is no.”
Also voting no were Lynn Donches and Michael Policano.
Voting for the plan were board president Charles Ballard, Alan Earnshaw, Francee Fuller and Ken Bacher. Two board members were absent – Rebecca Heid and Samuel Rhodes.
East Penn’s plan for Willow Lane site improvements has a price tag of $89,356, not including an additional $9,226 estimate to possibly extend a walking path along the rear of the school. Before any improvements are made, the school board will have to approve specific funding after the district gets bids.
“My school taxes are going to pay for a $90,000 renovation of the parking lot because the engineer didn’t do it right the first time,” said parent Melissa Huffer.
“That’s an expensive mistake.” She indicated all safety improvements now being planned should have been addressed before Willow Lane Elementary opened three years ago.
Huffer encouraged Seidenberger to listen to the parents and “embrace their concerns.”
“I’d like to express my frustration and disappointment with the way this board and Dr. Seidenberger have handled these changes to Willow Lane,” said Todd Salomon, the father of three children that attend the elementary school.
“Parents have asked over and over again for an open dialogue and communication with this board to reassure us that a well-thought-out plan is in place. Having an informal meeting where parents can voice their concerns to this board and Dr. Seidenberger and get a meaningful response would have avoided not only distrust from parents but could have improved the current plans being implemented.” He said many Willow Lane parents not only have been ignored, “but we have been called disingenuous.”
Nancy Salomon suggested the school board has become a puppet of East Penn’s administration rather than representing parents and taxpayers. “I’ve watched these meetings with disgust as you are rude and disrespectful -- not only to parents but to each other. Each of you has turned these meetings into a joke, with a parents’ table, a children’s table and a puppet master.”
Seidenberger said 17 Willow Lane parents 17 volunteered to serve on a committee being set up by with Anthony Moyer, principal at Willow Lane, to work on ensuring safety of children going to and from school. “He will be picking a team of parents very soon, now that we are moving forward.” He predicted that committee will be started within two weeks.