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School transportation glitches haunt New Hope-Solebury in opening days

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Transportation provider, First Student, attended the New Hope-Solebury School Board meeting on Sept. 22 to iron out problems at the beginning of the school year.

Partner with the district for the last 15 years, the bus company experienced problems with the routing software resulting in bus drivers’ having incorrect information regarding their routes.

Parents and faculty have access to the First Student app which provides tracking information and time of arrival for the students. It was noted by the board and parents that the app is most often not working.

During the first week of school, the incoming kindergarten class was not able to be tracked and children arrived home hours late. The incoming kindergarten class has 80-100 new students and Board President Judeth Finn reported that she received calls from frantic parents who were not able to locate their child.

Representatives from First Student Inc. presented a plan to mitigate the issues. The company is reviewing alternate routes to lessen time on the bus, improving parent communication and fixing software glitches.

The board expressed concern over continuing problems. Company representatives said it would take two weeks to settle the problem and they would update the board on their progress.

Many parents said they are now choosing to drive their students.

In other business, Superintendent Charles Lentz announced Anthony Barth as the new assistant principal for the middle and high schools. He was formerly the English Department chairperson at Pennsbury High School and has an extensive background in education.

The curriculum committee reported the continuing success of the Bridge Program which currently has five students enrolled. The program provides vocational training and life skills for students transitioning out of high school, teaching them to live independently. The district would like to see enrollment increase to 10 students, according to the committee.

Board member Dr. Andrew Ordover spoke about introducing Spanish language in the elementary schools. A survey was sent out and out of the 100 responses, 60% were in favor. The board will research Spanish language in other Bucks County elementary schools. The logistics were discussed as to how class time would be structured and adding additional faculty.

The first LionFest will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 14 at the high school, preceding the evening football game. The field hockey and volleyball teams will play during the afternoon. The LionFest will be a carnival with games and food for the community, giving an opportunity to cheer on their teams.

Parents expressed concerns over other organizations using the track and fields. President Finn stated that although outside teams do use the facilities, “our kids come first.”

The next school board meeting is held Thursday, Oct. 27.

New Hope-Solebury School

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