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School Board Says Yes to Buses

The board also talked about new elementary school schedules and a new compensation plan for administrators.

During a meeting with a lengthy agenda, the Centennial School Board Tuesday night approved the purchase of four 77-person school buses that will be added to help deal with the additional impact placed on the transportation department by the .

The four new buses, which are expected to be purchased from the lowest responsible bidder in the next few months, will be used along with five previously ordered yellow school buses to transport students from , and Davis Elementary. The schools will shift from a staggered schedule and, coming in September, will all begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

School Board President Dr. Andrew Pollock - who voted to approve the new schedule at a special meeting last week - and member Kati Driban voted no Tuesday night to the purchase of the four buses citing the cost burden on the district. Driban voted against the new bell schedule last week.

School director Jane Schrader Lynch called Pollock out and questioned how he could vote to approve the new elementary school start times knowing the additional buses would be needed but could not vote to approve the purchase of the buses needed to implement the plan.

Pollack said he voted yes at last week’s special meeting to get the budget approved. The budget’s half-mill increase for taxpayers is expected to go toward supporting the bus purchase, hiring another garage mechanic and paying for the other costs associated with the additional buses.

“I am supporting [the purchase of the buses] because this is what we told the public we would do,” said board member Betty Huf citing last week’s vote to approve the new schedule. She added the board’s promise to taxpayers could not be “fulfilled’ if the new vehicles were not purchased.

In the end, the board approved the bus item 7-2.

All of the board’s members, except Mark Miller, voted to give administrators approval to begin developing the elementary school block schedule for fall.

When asked how he voted, Miller said, “Governance by ambush - no. In fact, I abstain.”

Miller, just moments, before told his peers he felt blindsided that the item was not listed on the agenda. He added that he had several concerns about the new schedule and felt the district had failed to announce solutions to his concerns. 

The vote was added to the meeting’s new business section and was not printed on the advertised agenda, school officials said. The absence of the item was chalked up as an accident.

Miller has concerns that students in grades four and five will have to wait too long before they get to eat during their afternoon lunch period. In addition, he fears the lunch and recess period, which falls in the middle of the math block, will be distracting to the education process.

The board also approved 6-3 a new compensation plan for administrators that will last until 2015.

The new compensation plan's early retirement incentive will be offered to administrators. The incentive will give those who chose to retire early $10,000 per year for the next three years. Over the three years, the money will be added to a health reimbursement account, which means the funds can be used for no other purpose.

Huf said of the plan, “We just don’t have the money to give away.” She added that not many companies offer pay incentives to get employees to retire.

In other business, the nine member board unanimously approved a deal that would let next week’s Southampton Days festivities rent 13 of the district buses and drivers for transportation during the July 4th event.

The Southampton Days committee will reimburse the district $2,600 for the use of the buses and to pay the drivers.

Toward the end of the meeting, board member Michael Hartline asked Superintendent Dr. Jenny Cressman about the district’s effort to help the Warminster Soccer Club and the town’s baseball and softball leagues .

Cressman said the district was working with the local sports organizations to see if they could help.

Board members Huf and Lynch urged members of the community to donate funds to help replace the charred equipment lost in the fire.

Steve G June 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Buses, Drivers, Fuel & a Mechanic It appears that with these additional costs associated with the Elementary Schools every year, the district will not be saving as much money as our School Board members had thought when they approved consolidating schools and building new schools instead of updating existing buildings. What a Surprise!!! How many teachers will have to be laid off to pay for the buses, drivers, fuel costs, maintenance costs, and the additional mechanics salary??? Also, what is the cost of four new buses, a mechanics salary, maintenance and fuel costs per year???? Someone should write a book, "How Not To Run A School District", a case study of the Centennial School Board!!!!
Lou June 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM
What is supposed to happen with the money that will come in when the Stackpole, Leary and Longstreth properties are sold?
Thomas Hezel June 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Steve, they never thought this plan all the way through before they made this decision. Also, the administration at the time came out with flat our lies when it came to estimates for buses. Heck, you had a board member who was only on the board two weeks, who voted for the consolidation!
Thomas Hezel June 27, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Lou, when the district get monies like these, they usually put it into the capital expense budget. It will probably be used to replace the roofs on the middle schools when that is needed.
Jennifer June 27, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I am so very confused. First they don't pass the budget, then Mr. Miller revises his motion and they do pass the budget. Then, last night Dr. Pollock votes against the buses and Mr. Miller chooses not to vote, but these two men pushed the budget through? Also, these new buses are not coming until after the school year starts, so how will that help get the kids home on a 40 minute ride? Are they going to have the buses show up at 3:50 to be able to make the run home? I'm just not following what they are doing. Is anyone else confused?
Mark B Miller June 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Jennifer, I did vote in favor of the buses, together with Mrs Lynch, Mrs Huf and Mr Hartline (who did not support the added cost) and Mr Shafter, Mr Adams and Mr Kleinschmidt who voted in favor of the budget along with me. There were four Resolutions where I abstained from voting because of irregularities. I abstained from voting on a trip by students to Italy. I support the trip, but; the Board voted against its own Policy 3.4 which requires the physical and financial security of the students and their money were verified. Each student is asked to pay $2,600 and we do not even know the name of the travel agency. I abstained from voting on an energy audit because I do not believe the Board realizes it will wind up paying $10,000 regardless if the firm is hired or not. If they do not collect the “exit fee” they will build it into the cost. I abstained from voting on the Disruptive Youth Policy (new) because the Board would not heed the advice of its Solicitor. I abstained from voting on the Elementary Block Schedule because it was not on the published Agenda and therefore the public was denied an opportunity to comment at the meeting.
concerned citizen June 28, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I think the Elementary Block Schedule is crazy!! What is Dr. Cressman thinking? I seen somewhere (when it was 8:30-3:15) that the 4th grade was eating lunch at 12:45 & the 5th grade was eating at 1:15. That is just unhealthy. My child will start 4th grade in Sept. & when she was in 2nd grade at McDonald, she had lunch at 1:00. She came home 3 of the 5 days, for the entire year, with a headache. How can you build multi dollar schools and not make the cafeteria big enough to accommodate the students. Why can't 2 grades eat lunch at the same time? I also don't understand why they now need 90 mins. to teach math. Is it because the teachers are uneducated on the "new" everyday math or that it's just to complicated for the children to learn? My children didn't even start this math & I'm dreading it. All I hear are horror stories from the parents whos children already have it. Maybe they should just go back to the "old" math. When they get to Klinger, they don't do everyday math!!
Jennifer June 28, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Didn't they have block scheduling at the high school and it failed? Why can't they do a split period for the math, say a 45 min. class, then lunch, and then finish the math class. 90 minutes doing the same thing, most young kids lose interest after a half hour. Seems a little too much, doesn't it?
FED UP June 28, 2012 at 01:43 AM
WHY DOES EVERY DECISION THIS BOARD MAKES NEGATIVELY IMPACT MY FAMILY??? ARE THEY INCAPABLE OF MAKING GOOD DECISIONS??? Every time I read the patch I get nothing but bad news. Whether it's giving my kids an extra half hour, making their schedule later, increasing taxes, Everyday Math nightmare, getting rid of good principals, and my now my fifth grader will be eating lunch at 1:15??? THEY CONVIENTELY DIDNT ADVERTISE THE NEW SCHEDULE AND VOTED ON IT!!! WE NEED TO CALL AND COMPLAIN TO THE STATE!!! I AM FED UP!!!
concerned citizen June 28, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Just noticed the block schedule is attached. It looks like the math is split for the older students, but where is the time for science & social studies? It looks like the day is math & literacy. What kind of school is this becoming? You are going to have a bunch of bored kids who will become uninterested in school.
Daniella June 28, 2012 at 02:09 AM
I looked at the attachment and I don't understand this block schedule. Maybe I'm just not familiar with the terms but where is Art? Music? Gym? Science? Social Studies? What does Intervention & Planning refer to? Is there really 95 minutes of Math?? My daughter will be in 3rd grade and one straight 95 minutes of math seems like it will just have the kids losing their attention span....that seems painful for the kids and like its just setting up a disaster.
Daniella June 28, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I second that! I am so infuriated with this school district! It seems every week, I'm finding out about some other horrendous change this school district is making that will NEGATIVELY impact my kids! Its just amazing to me that they could consolidate 6 elementary schools into 3 but plan for it so poorly. And I'm hearing that the music program will be all but defunct. My daughter will be entering 3rd grade and she's been so excited to start learning the violin and getting lessons on that. Will she even have that opportunity???
Warminster Resident June 28, 2012 at 05:31 AM
For what it's worth, Mr. Miller, I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion regarding the Italy trip. I appreciate your abstentions because they show that you're not just blinding voting yes or no but rather seeking more information. It's unfortunate that frequently the rest of the board doesn't seem to be concerned with this.
Lou June 28, 2012 at 01:42 PM
When my kids were in 5th grade and lunch was kind of late, they were given time for a snack every day, mid morning. Hopefully, the teachers will still do this.
Pamela June 28, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Well at only $650 an hour what do really expect from the Administration. She can only re-invent the wheel. Instead of fixing everything that is wrong, let just fix what ISN"T broken....
Pamela June 28, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Just to point out if the SB does not reach a majority on the budget, it has to go to vote with the public...hence why some board members voted for the buses and the budget and then changed their minds....90 minutes of math...I guess they realized that the NEW MATH is not easy to teach and must allow extra time. Its a shame that the other classes will now suffer, but hey we don't have any music teachers left so it's okay. I'm old and blind, so could someone please point out to me where this block schedule is listed in the meeting minutes?? I know it was left off the agenda, but it should not be left out of the minutes...maybe it wasn't June 26th.....
concerned citizen June 28, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I don't think they put the minutes on the website yet, but it was left off of the agenda. The block schedule is attached to this article. It is the pdf file w/the picture, if you want to take a look at it.
concerned citizen June 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I'm sure they will, but it's for only around 10 mins. So the kids have to eat quick. When my daughter was in 2nd grade, she had lunch at 1:00, had a snack in the morning, but still came home 3 of the 5 days with a headache. Why can't they have 3 lunch periods w/the EDK & 1st grades, 2nd & 3rd, and 4th & 5th. Nobody should have to eat lunch at 1pm or later.
Pamela June 28, 2012 at 05:32 PM
If the meeting was June 26th, the minutes are on the site with no mention of the block schedule. My oldest daughter suffers from migraines and when you have to wait that long for a full meal it almost always guarentees an attack.
concerned citizen June 28, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I just saw the block for s/ss, its at the end of the day for a total of 45. So, I guess 1 day they will have 45 mins. of science, then the next day 45 mins of social studies?? Planning is for all the grade level teachers to get together to discuss their plan. (all the teachers are suppose to teach the same thing, I think) Encore is for subjects like gym, art, etc. (I think) I'm not sure what intervention is. I want to say it's when they pull the kids out for music lessons, IMG, etc., but I'm not sure. So, just looking at the template it looks like when grade 4 teachers are having their pow-wows, the 4th grade is having gym, music, art, etc. Don't forget it's going to be totally different, it's not going to be a M-F week anymore. It's going to be on a day schedule. Not sure how many days, I heard a 10 day schedule. (At Klinger they have day 1 & day 2 schedules. So on day 1 they might have art, but on day 2 they have gym) It's just so confusing.
Dalia June 29, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Block scheduling didn't fail per se. It was just too expensive. Some classes were negatively impacted by block, some were positive. It was mostly positive though. Block also prepared students for the average world load and class time of college classes. I didn't get to experience block, because I was the first graduating class to have all four years of the hour long class schedule. Yes elementary school students lose interest faster than a high school student but the whole 90 minutes won't be the teacher "lecturing". I am sure the teachers have a plan set up on how to make the 90 minute block of class work. It's their job. They aren't going to spend 30 minutes teaching the material then sitting back at their desk while the kids do worksheets for an hour. That period will probably include some type of break as well, like snack time.
Dalia June 29, 2012 at 07:06 PM
*work load
Sadie June 29, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Perhaps I missed something here. Who gets $650/hr? How do we get one of those jobs???
kelly boyle August 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Does anyone know when the bus schedule will be posted on the CSD website? I'm down to 1.5 weeks to arrange before and after care schedules and my work schedule. This is not very respectful of working parents' already constrained schedules.

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