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Chester County Press

U-CF School District rated highly; Sage, Dupuis not running for re-election

03/19/2019 11:41AM ● By J. Chambless

By JP Phillips

There had been intense community participation in Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board meetings lately, when the first phase of the Long-Term Facilities Plan (LTFP) was finalized.  In contrast, the March 11 and 18 board meetings were uncharacteristically brief, and largely covered routine business. 

Director of Business and Operations Bob Cochran was pleased to inform the board that the district just received a AA1 rating from Moody’s, which will be helpful in obtaining favorable rates on the recently approved $9.1 million LTFP borrowing issue.

 At the work session, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds James Whitesel said he received the results of the middle/high school campus traffic study (approved in November at a cost just shy of $9,000).  The district used Traffic Planning and Design (TP&D), the same consultant who is working with East Marlborough Township on traffic calming and sidewalk design work along Route 82.  Based on the report, Whitesel sees an opportunity to make some short-term improvements utilizing in-house staff this summer.  These fixes include widening access points, removing some islands that restrict bus turning radiuses, and widening sidewalks for pedestrians. 

He emphasized that there are no current safety concerns. “We have staff out there managing the day-to-day flow,” Whitesel said. “I know if they weren’t there -- -if they weren’t in place -- it would be a literal disaster trying to get in and out of the facilities here.”

He said that “in a year or two,” they would publicly discuss larger reconfigurations to eliminate these problem areas. That would be likely be included in the next borrowing phase of the LTFP. 

The board approved Chadds Ford Elementary School’s roof repairs, new carpets for Chadds Ford Elementary and Unionville Elementary, and the refinishing of the Patton Middle School main gym. They also approved $100,000 for phase two of the network technology update.

Assistant Superintendent John Nolen gave a preliminary review of 2019-2020 high school course selections. Since the introductory-level “Computer Applications” class is no longer mandatory, students have the opportunity to take a different one-semester class that may be of more value to them. Nolen noted enrollment is way up in personal finance, computer, and business application classes.

Board member Vic Dupuis reported that initial responses to a new middle school computer-based math program called “Get More Math” (designed to replace “Study Island”) has been favorable. A budget-neutral switch could be recommended for the next school year.

Board member Gregg Lindner used his comments to praise fellow member Bob Sage, who is not running for re-election. Sage has represented Region B (Newlin, Pocopson, and Birmingham townships) since 2014.  “Mr. Sage, I think, has made us all better board members,” Lindner said.   “You have done a lot of hard work going through the details. There are many times you have said things that I get mad at myself, because I didn’t see them first. And so I truly appreciate what you’ve done, and I’m sorry you are not running again.”

Though not announced at the meeting, board member Vic Dupuis (region A: East and West Marlborough townships) also does not plan to run for re-election.

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