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New Hope-Solebury finance committee hoping to chip away at tax increase as good vibes abound


“Thank you for all you do to help us learn and grow,” said second graders Naylah Hamadeh and Leo Phillips, in unison, to the nine member school board, each receiving a long stem red rose as a token of appreciation.

It was a full house on Jan. 26 when the New Hope-Solebury School Board meeting marked by awards and acknowledgments for board members, teachers, students and building initiatives.

Reacting to the pep rally atmosphere of the enthusiastic students, parents and community members in attendance, school board President Judeth Finn said, “It is a pleasure to serve this community, our students, our teachers, our nurses, our student services. It would be great if every board meeting is as positive and forward-thinking and inclusive as tonight’s was. Thank you very much.”

A chicken coop now stands at Upper Elementary School where students will help raise and care for the chickens.

“This will be a wonderful learning opportunity for the students and we appreciate all those who helped to make this possible,” said Upper Elementary Principal Jessie Brosious.

District kindergarten teacher Jacqueline Miller was recognized as a finalist for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

“It is the second time in two years that a teacher from the district is in the finals,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles Lentz.

Details on the STEAM Initiative were provided by Director of Education Dr. Amanda Benolken and K-12 STEAM Coordinator Richard Curtis. Updates on the E Sports Lab, Metal Shop, Engineering Club and Podcast Studio were also shared. The STEAM Wing is nearly complete with a Feb. 23 ribbon cutting scheduled.

School board member Andrew Ordover reported on the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Program. The curriculum committee is looking for ways to bring DARE back and make it available to Grade 2 through Grade 5. It was previously available only to Grade 5.

The board approved a revised bid of approximately $285,000 for a 2,400-square-foot shed to design-build group Kaiser-Martin, and a $195,785 air cooled chiller replacement bid for Lower Elementary School.

The New Hope-Solebury High School Environmental Club was given permission to join the facilities committee as a learning opportunity.

Also approved was a resolution adopting the 2023-2024 preliminary budget. It includes an estimated tax increase of 4.1%.

“It is the committee’s aim to move down off that number,” said board member John Augenblick. Finn pointed out that the district has “the lowest tax millage rate in the county and lowest three in the state so we don’t get a ton of money. I think we are doing a pretty impressive job with fiscal responsibility,” she said.

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