Willow Lane Bus Issue Advances
Motion to take $60,000 from the budgetary fund reserve to pay for buses for Willow Lane is tabled until the Aug. 13 meeting of the East Penn Board of School Directors.
The East Penn Board of School Directors voted 5-3 last night to table a motion to use $60,000 from the budgetary reserve fund to reinstate busing for students who live within 1.5 miles of Willow Lane Elementary School.
The motion, made by School Director Julian Stolz, came at the end of a meeting that began with nearly 30 minutes of public comment by Willow Lane parents who came out to urge the board to reconsider its decision to eliminate busing for those Willow Lane students living within “walking distance” of the school.
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School Director Rebecca Heid made a motion to table Stolz’ motion before any discussion among the board occurred, stating that she would like to give the administration time to put together its plan for Willow Lane and present that plan to the board before making any decision on Stolz’ motion.
East Penn Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger assured Heid that that plan would be ready for the board at its next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 13.
Those taking the podium about Willow Lane last night focused on a common theme, questioning the board’s willingness to put the safety of elementary school students at risk in exchange for financial savings that equate to such a tiny percentage of East Penn’s $125 million budget.
They also repeatedly pointed out the seeming lack of a plan for how the new transportation scheme will be handled at Willow Lane.
Richard Muller of Macungie said that he didn’t think enough thought had been put into the decision about Willow Lane busing, asking if the traffic impact study being used to guide this decision was even conducted recently enough to be viable.
“There have been a lot of new developments in the area and the traffic counts are probably actually much higher,” said Muller, who described himself as a Willow Lane parent. “Yeah, you save $60,000 on busing, but you have no plan for how the kids are going to be managed, no plan to get the kids into the school.
“How are you going to get the 320 additional cars in and out of there?” he asked. “This just seems like a knee jerk reaction to cut $60,000. I ask that you take another look at it and really dive into the details before you make this decision.”
Mullers comments, like those of the half dozen others who addressed the board, were met with audience applause.
Willow Lane busing was cut as part of a 6-3 vote on June 25 that passed a 2012-2013 budget that will raise taxes in East Penn 1.3 percent.