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Southeastern PA

Quakertown School Board lays out improvements to hub transportation system

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - Transportation for nonpublic school students and parents in the Quakertown Community School District should now run smoother than in the past.

Assistant to the Superintendent Nancianne Edwards presented board members Thursday evening with an update on the bus hub transportation system in the district.

Edwards said a public meeting held Aug. 19 with nonpublic school families raised a number of issues such as dismissal times, length of time children spend on buses and problems with communication with the district and parents.

The hub system impacts non-public and charter school students who use the district's bus system.

Students are now required to transfer to a different bus at a centralized hub location in the district.

"A number of parents were upset," Edwards told board members.

Since the meeting she said the district has been working diligently on making improvements and modifications to the district's hub system.

A test bus run was conducted Aug. 21 where parents were invited to participate.

"All the parents who were at the hubs, the response seemed very positive ... It seemed to go very well," Edwards said.

According to Edwards, the district adjusted data to take into consideration the dismissal time of the individual schools.

In addition, an email list was created for parents and a color system has been implemented for buses and routes.

Edwards also noted the district utilized a number of strategies to improve time and ensure safety including changing hub locations, routes, drop off and pick up times and prohibiting parents from dropping off and picking up students at a hub.

"We didn't want to create a traffic or safety issue," she said.

Edwards recommended to the board the district run the current system for two weeks and after the two week period, analyze data and present that data at the next board meeting, Sept. 11.

"I think as currently designed, we have addressed the safety issues," she added. "I think we're in pretty good shape."

In other business, the board unanimously voted to appoint Ronald Jackson to serve the remainder of former board member Gary Landes' term, which expires December 2015.

The board also approved Landes' resignation effective Aug. 31.

Jackson, a Quakertown resident for eight years, is a civil engineer, and has four children enrolled in the school district

Jackson and board candidate Alexandria Johnson were provided five minutes to speak to the board and answer any questions board members had.

"I'm hoping I can contribute in a meaningful way," Jackson said.

He also said he will not rule out the prospect of raising taxes if the situation calls for an increase.

"Taxes, as far as I'm concerned, have their place," he said.

Board member Robert Smith raised concern regarding Landes' resignation letter, which was dated Aug. 12, but requested his resignation take effect Aug. 31.

"I still have some heartburn with the way this whole thing played out," Smith said. "It just seems like once again we screwed up the whole process."

Board President Paul Stepanoff disagreed.

"I think it's a very normal process," he said.

After the board announced the appointment, Jackson took a seat with the other board members. He was instructed he cannot vote on agenda items until Aug. 31.

"It's seldom we have two highly qualified candidates," Stepanoff said.

Board member Anna Cattie was absent.

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