The New Hope-Solebury School Board held its April meeting starting with the Pledge of Allegiance led by a local Girl Scout troop.
Superintendent Charles Lentz spoke of several successes in the district including the return of the art collection, which has been at the Michener Art Museum for the duration of the construction project.
Dr. Lentz introduced Zachary Buchier, a sophomore who has been nominated to attend a seminar in Boston, the Congress of Future Medical leaders in recognition of his academic achievement. Buchier has aspirations to become a neurosurgeon. Senior Milong Lee is one of two National Merit semi-finalists out of 1.6 million participants
Board member Stan Marcus reported that Middle Bucks Institute of Technology has a budget for NH-S for $176,000, up 1.9 percent from the last budget. He gave an update on the problems with the recent roof replacement at the facility which have been traced to leaks around the HVAC units that have allowed water into the structure of the buildings.
Marcus mentioned at a previous meeting when problems with the replacement first began that by law a school has to take the lowest bid regardless of the quality of the work.
Board member Andrew Ordover announced that a five-year curriculum review is in progress and a plan for a multi-tiered program of support for positive behavior using a prevention model is to be implemented school-wide.
The elementary schools are working the program with three core values exhibited in every part of the school; celebration, motivation and remediation as needed. The goal is to identify students early that may need more support.
Board member Mark Cowell reported on the facilities committee, noting the high school boiler has three sections with leaks and the replacement will cost $450,000. He raised the issue of car parking management and said the district is still waiting to hear from the maker of the kiosks in town in terms of deciding space available.
Cowell also reported on Finances saying the 2018-19 budget has revenues and expenditures trending normally and the 2019-2020 budget has a preliminary deficit of $94,000 with some things still unknown.
The preliminary budget will be presented in May and the final in June.
Board member Douglas McDonough talked about all policies under review. The bullying policy has an update and there was discussion about the jurisdiction of the district when bullying is happening outside the school. McDonough said the problem is cyber bullying and the district needs to connect with the community to deal with it.
Local resident Melody Jones expressed disappointment that the district has not prioritized the outdoor facilities, citing the turf fields in other districts, adding if taxes need to be raised to do the job so be it, reluctant to spend money on patch jobs. Another costly decision is whether to install seatbelts on buses.
The local Rotary Club is interested in sponsoring a robotics team at the high school. There is a fundraiser connected to the initiative at the River Cat Café on May 19. There will be entertainment by students from the orchestra and more. Cowell said if one is not able to attend one could consider writing a check to the Rotary Club. The venue holds 50-60 seats and one must BYOB.