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Ball-throwing robots greet school board at New Hope-Solebury board meeting

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The New Hope-Solebury School Board met on the last day of February and was surprised by the roaring arrival of robots throwing balls as the students at the controls made them turn and dance around the floor, demonstrating the school’s program in robotics and celebrating success in competitions.

Dr. Charles, Superintendent, Lentz said that since the district has had two more snow days than budgeted for in the school calendar make-up days are needed; therefore Monday, April 22, and Thursday, June 13, will be full days of school and Friday, June 14, a half day. He said a decision about graduation will be made later.

Board member Liz Sheehan spoke of an art gallery reception with student art on March 19 at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, and a newly-formed wellness committee to address nutrition, mental health and community partnership.

Board liaison Stan Marcus reported that students at Middle Bucks Institute of Technology won 40 medals in the regional skills competition. He talked about a curriculum expansion to include a new Veterinarian Tech program.

The state board of education wants to lower the age of mandatory attendance from 8 to 6 years, according to board member Dana Schwartz. She said a survey on line had a 66 percent response from superintendents that revealed 75 percent say funding is a challenge and there is an increase in those worried about security.

George Sundell of Sundance Associates presented a demographic study to understand enrollment using what he called Cohort Survival Methodology, which is based on historic enrollment and current birth rates including the impact of different types of housing.

He said in the two municipalities served by the district 20 percent of the students attend private school. The childbearing portion of the population has decreased though the birthrate is higher. He said the long-range trend for NH-S is a continued decline in number of students.

Board member Andrew Ordover talked about curriculum, presented an AP textbook for approval and said the district is moving away from traditional English 12 towards more electives and offering robotics to all sixth grades.

The facilities committee reported that $10 million will be needed over the next 10 years for maintenance. Some of the more immediate requests are for replacement of banners that were honoring graduates for achievements in the past that were destroyed by the building process and a new batting cage to replace one with a similar fate.

Cowell expressed outrage at the carelessness of construction crews with these items.

The sports fields are reportedly in bad shape and the athletic director is looking for other locations for spring sports as well as tennis courts. Since the last meeting a study was done regarding number of parking spaces available to rent and the result was that the district is planning to cancel a previous contract agreement with Odette’s for 450 spaces.


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