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U-CF School Board addresses transportation issues, calendar and more

02/20/2018 11:14AM ● Published by J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The packed agenda at the Feb. 12 meeting of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board addressed a wide range of issues, including the planned purchase of new vehicles.

The board voted to solicit bids for three full-size school buses, two passenger vans and one maintenance truck with a plow for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Robert Cochran, the district's Director of Business and Operations, said that the newest pickup truck in the district's fleet is from 2003. “We're looking to get a vehicle that has a little bit more capacity, so that it can haul the new, 30-foot trailer that our band program has acquired,” he said. “It's time to get a new vehicle, so let's get one that can pull the trailer and use the plow as well.”

The buses will be replacing vehicles in the current fleet. They will likely be traded in as part of the purchase. The bids are scheduled to be approved at the board's Feb. 26 meeting.

Marie Wickersham, the Supervisor of Food Services and Transportation, updated the board on transportation in the district. “There is now audio and video recording equipment on all buses,” she said. “It used to be 80 percent, and we would move the equipment from bus to bus.”

In the past year, there were 161 incidents reported on the district's buses, she said. “An 'incident' can be

a bloody nose, a student throwing something out the window, somebody tripping, an accident, it can be a discipline issue,” Wickersham said. “We have 4,600 kids we're transporting them 182 days a year, so that's not a lot of incidents at all. We have very good kids. The things we deal with on the buses are very manageable things.”

The district calendar for next year was also discussed. For the coming year, said district superintendent John Sanville, “In the event of terrible winter and missing a lot of days, the order of days taken as makeup days would be June 11, 12, 13 and 14. Then we go to Feb. 18, then we'd go to April 15 and 16, the first two days of spring break. Day 9 and 10 -- in the event of a big snow year -- we would forgive the students those two days. Then we would tack on day 10 and 11 makeup days as June 17 and 18.

“The difference here is the makeup days 8 and 9, which are not made up. The reason we're able to do that is our current district policy is for 182 school days for students. The state only requires 180 days.

This is something that we did three years ago, when we had an exceptionally harsh winter. We had two days we didn't make up.”

The board will vote on the calendar at next week's meeting.

The board also heard about a revamped district website, which is being updated and realigned to work better on a wide range of devices. The launch is planned for spring break of 2018, and public notifications of the changes will begin on Feb. 26. The new, cloud-based technology platform replaces 15-year-old homegrown technology. It will be accessible to users with disabilities and will meet all ADA compliance requirements. Users will be able to control the language used on the site, and the pages will resize automatically from desktop to hand-held devices. All documents and content will be searchable, and directory improvements will search, pictures, profiles and links.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email

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