East Penn School Board Director Lynn Donches voiced concerns at the end of Monday night’s school board meeting regarding the failure to publicize a Nov. 27 meeting at which the East Penn School District presented the Willow Lane walking study that led 17 Willow Lane parents take the podium Monday night.
As the result of a possible oversight, few people were aware of the Nov. 27 meeting that included parents of Willow Lane Elementary School students, an engineer and Willow Lane administrators. School board directors were neither invited nor notified.
The Dec. 10 school board meeting included several rows of extra chairs that were added to accommodate the parents who came to the meeting try to convince board members it would be a bad idea to make Willow Lane Elementary School a “walking school” beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.
The parents were mobilized, in part, due to the Nov. 27 meeting and what they believe to be significant flaws in the study.
“I find it disturbing,” Donches said, “that no board members were notified about the district's Nov. 27 meeting. As the parents said here tonight, it was not widely publicized. Usually special presentations are reported at board meetings. It’s too bad it wasn’t publicized. In response, it was lightly attended.”
Donches went on to say that she would have attended the meeting, had she known about it, and she was bothered by the fact that Willow Lane parents had been left with the impression that the school board didn’t want to be a part of the meeting or resolving the concerns of the Willow Lane parents.
“The citizens realize that official action can’t be taken, except in board meetings, but if there is a forum in which I have the opportunity to listen to people’s concerns first-hand, I find that useful,” Donches said.
“It is just unfortunate that no one from the school board was present at the meeting,” she said.
Following Donches’ comments, School Director Julian Stolz thanked the Willow Lane parents for coming to the meeting and making the board aware of the lingering issues related to the elimination of busing at Willow Lane.
“We weren’t even informed of that meeting,” Stolz said. “Your input is critical. I am a budget-cutter, but I did not approve cutting the $60,000 [that will be saved when busing is eliminated.] You are not satisfied. You don’t feel safe yet and we need to rectify that.”