District makes plans for fewer bus routes

CHATHAM–With the first day of school only two weeks away, board members discussed bus routes and construction on district buildings at their Tuesday August 25 meeting.

The board is also accepting applications through today, Thursday August 27, from district residents who wish to be considered for appointment to a vacant seat on the nine-member school board.


“We are going to open on time,” said Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo, in reference to the construction under way at all three schools in the district. She said the work was on “a very aggressive schedule.” Roofing has started at the Middle School, and Ms. Nuciforo said that when crews arrived they found more deterioration than anticipated on part of the roof. The roofers will now use what she called a spray-on foam roof. “The process that we are using is going to keep the roof weather-tight and be less expensive,” she said.

Work is also proceeding on the parking lot at the high school, where plans call for a new traffic pattern for cars and busses. Ms. Nuciforo said information about the lot would be sent to the homes of high school students and posted on the district website.

Board member Denise Dapice suggested that information should be sent to all students in the district, and board member Francis Iaconetti suggested publishing a map of the new traffic flow in local newspapers.

What will not be publicized this year is the bus schedule. Ms. Nuciforo said that students will be mailed their bus stop information.

The district has adopted a one-bell system, which takes effect with the opening of school next month. The new system means that all students, from elementary through high school, will use the same buses at the same time, rather than the staggered bus routes of previous years, when older students were picked up and dropped off earlier than elementary school students. The new system also means that the buses will be filled to their capacity of 65 students. “Bus routes are much more balanced,” said Ms. Nuciforo. The district does plan to deploy smaller busses to follow the more crowded buses on the first day of school.

Ms. Nuciforo said the administration is trying to accommodate students’ requests to change busses on different days of the week, but she added a note of caution, saying, “Every change you make at this juncture has a domino effect.” She said that it would be hard if 5 or 6 students want to change to a different bus that is already nearly full.

“We may not be able to get this resolved before school starts,” she said about meeting the requests, but she said the district would be addressing any problems in September and October.

The district will host an informational meeting about the one-bell system Tuesday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Mary E. Dardess Elementary School.

What the board did not discuss at Tuesday’s meeting was the proposal for co-principals at the high school. Ms. Nuciforo said that she has agreements and resolutions for the board to look at on this proposal, but those documents needed a few changes and were not ready for the August meeting. She said that the board must vote on the resolution to make the administrative change before the start of school, so board members will need to have a special meeting to address the question. She said the public would be notified when the board decides the date and time of the meeting.

For more information about upcoming meetings in the district go to the website www.chathamcentralschools.com.

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