"Everybody will be interviewed that wants to be interviewed," he said, "and they will have first consideration before we bring in new employees. They know the routes and I'm sure they're good, safe drivers. Why wouldn't we take them?"

Krise said new credential checks and clearances will be run on those potential employees.

He said 120 buses, mini-buses and vans now serve the school district, not including spares.

"We offer new propane buses," said Krise. He confirmed STA's buses are bigger and all are equipped with GPS and digital surveillance systems.

"Every bus will have three cameras," he said, adding two will face the interior and a third will show the front view. He said that camera will show vehicles that don't stop for a bus when it is loading and unloading students.

The nearest school district served by STA is in Bangor, Northampton County. It also serves Perkiomen Valley School District in Montgomery County and Bristol Township in lower Bucks County.

Williams of First Student told the school board when STA started in Bristol Township this year, it cut drivers' wages $3.50 to $4.50 per hour and eliminated paid days off.

The third bus company that submitted a proposal to serve East Penn students was Krapf, according to STA reps at the board meeting.

Eyer teacher honored

Susan Bauer, who teaches science and math at Eyer Middle School, was honored by the school board for receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

Seidenberger called it the nation's highest honor for science and math teachers.

Susan Bauer

Proclamations and letters of praise were presented to Bauer from the district, as well as from State Senator Lisa Boscola, U.S. Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent.

Bauer told the board receiving the award "fuels my dedication to develop unique and interesting opportunities for students to actively engage in learning science."

She received the award in Washington D.C.

"Meeting the President of the United States, and to have him thank me for my work in the field of education, was quite a surreal experience," she told the school board. She described that experience as "epic."

Earnshaw said Bauer taught his own children and "they benefited tremendously from her energy in the classroom, from her enthusiasm for her subject and from her clarity of instruction."

Interesting facts

Several interesting facts were shared during the board meeting.

In talking about future revenue coming to the school district, Seidenberger indicated each of the one-million square-foot warehouses planned in Lower Macungie Township will generate $667,000 more in property taxes to East Penn when completed.

"That's good news for you," Seidenberger told Schilder. "That's my gift."

"I'll take it," replied Schilder.

Seidenberger complained about huge cost increases for cyber and charter schools.

He said it costs $4,200 to educate one student in East Penn, but the district has to pay $9,100 per student for those attending charter or cyber schools.

"That is a net effect of $478,000 that our taxpayers are paying," said Seidenberger. "And I don't believe any of those programs match ours."

In a report to the school board, Dr. Thomas Mirabella, East Penn's director of student services, said East Penn has 30 homeless students this year, up from 22 in the last school year. He said they are students who lack a "fixed or regular night-time residence."