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COO is leaving New Hope-Solebury School District


Superintendent Charles Lentz announced an addendum to the March 28 agenda, the acceptance of the resignation of Chief Operations Officer Andrew Lechman effective June 1.

Lechman has been credited with bringing the district out of fiscal disarray and bringing back a more positive vision for the future, which had looked fiscally dim. Many in the audience spoke of the excellent job done by Lechman.

New Hope-Solebury received an award for its music program, recognized as one of the 2019 best communities for music education. Just last month NHS students got a plaque from the mayor of Venice, Italy, for their musical performance.

The men’s basketball team was present en masse to be recognized for winning the district championship and ultimately achieving the rank of sixth in the state. The coaches called the parents the “unsung heroes” for making it possible for the students to participate.

More district heroes are the students and staff who participated in the St. Baldrick’s event by shaving and donating hair to people who have lost theirs, allowing the school to raise $176,000 for the charity.

Dr. Lentz announced a calendar change due to unscheduled snow days – full days April 22 and June 13, with graduation scheduled for June 14. Registration for next fall’s kindergarten has reached 82 students so far.

The district supports bills that are before the state Legislature, requiring parents of students who seek a cyber program similar to that provided by their school, to pay the other school themselves instead of expecting local taxpayers to foot the bill.

Conversation turned to facilities and problems with several fields due to excessive rain last summer and through the first part of this year that has made them too muddy and unsafe. It is sometimes necessary to find practice fields elsewhere. Members of the community have also decided to play on the fields when school is out causing further damage. Several parents commented about lack of safety with some asking for fake turf to be used.

The bad condition of the tennis courts despite attempts to repair has made the tennis team go elsewhere.

Board member Mark Cowell pointed out the district has just gone $24 million into debt fixing the inner parts of the facilities with a substantial cost overrun, leaving no money for fields and courts. The board is looking at other ways to raise the money for the fields such as naming rights for substantial donations. It has also discussed a larger fee for usage when facilities are rented out to groups.

The car parking management plan will be introduced in April in response to various New Hope businesses interested in reserving some spaces. The district had to scrap a contract it had with the Gateway partners, building in New Hope, because the number of spaces expected was beyond the number available realizing parking for school events has to come first. New Hope resident Ed Duffy commented on the number of businesses hoping to get some spaces.

The district is considering the installation of seatbelts in school buses. A bus costs $80,000 a year and adding seatbelts adds $60,000 to that bottom line. Some parents feel there should be belts others worry about children being trapped on the bus if unable to work the release.

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