Tunkhannock Borough Council heard a presentation from the Tunkhannock Area School District concerning the bus schedules at the local school buildings.
Superintendent Heather McPherson and administrator Kelly Carroll explained that things will not be perfect when students return to classes in September. But the district will begin an on-going effort from Day One to make things better.
Concerns were raised at previous council meetings due to changes in traffic patterns at the Primary Center - formally Roslund Elementary - and the Tunkhannock Intermediate Center - formerly the middle school. With the district’s recent consolidation of several of its school buildings, some have been worried about how the affect it will have on local traffic patterns, as well as safety issues.
Carroll explained that there will be staggered arrival and dismissal times for the buses at the Primary Center. Twelve will arrive at 7:40 a.m., another 12 at 7:45 a.m., and the last 12 at 7:50 a.m.
Also, McPherson explained there would be a section of the parking lot dedicated to parents dropping off and picking up their children. Previously, parents simply waited in their vehicles behind the buses until they left.
The superintendent said it is impossible to predict precisely what kind of traffic patterns will be at the center, because they do not know how many people will be dropping off their kids.
McPherson said the district will be hiring a second security officer - and that person will have the necessary credentials to direct traffic at Digger Drive where it meets Route 29.
Council member Ruth Vincenti said she wonders about the five minutes between each bus dropping kids off and picking them up.
“That seems like a pretty short time,” she said.
McPherson assured that the teachers will have the children ready and waiting at the pickup points. But changes will be made in the system, if necessary.
“I don’t have a magic ball,” she said. “All I do know is that day after day, we’ll make it better.”
A question was raised about UGI possibly laying gas lines on Harrison Street, and McPherson said the district was assured there would be no construction during the early morning and mid-afternoons when buses might be needing to transport students along that route.
She said that people with concerns and suggestions about the traffic patterns can call her at 570-836-3111, ext. 1000.
Carroll said the district does not foresee any major problems at the Intermediate Center, because only three additional buses will be going this year to the facility.
However, council member Scott Douthett expressed concern about the STEM facility for seventh graders, located across the street in the administration building. McPherson said that all students will initially report at the Intermediate Center when dropped off at school.
Another concern was about students who have to cross the road to get to the facility. The superintendent said they will consider several options to insure the students’ safety. In the meantime, she said, the students crossing the road would be accompanied each time by an adult.
Another concern raised was about the traffic patterns adjacent to the driveway of the Triton Hose Company. A solution suggested by Police Chief Keith Carpenter would be that all traffic would be required to turn right onto Tioga Street during specific times. School buses could use the by-pass to head to their respective destinations, eliminating them traveling through town, he said.
In other business, council:
*Announced that the meeting of the Finance Committee will be the third Friday each month at 9 a.m.
*Reported that a budget meeting is scheduled for Aug. 17.
*Tabled an MMO Police for $84,867; and an MMO Non-Uniform for $16,116, until the matter could be presented to the finance committee.
*Accepted the resignation of Alaisha Sherwood as a part-time police officer. Sherwood explained in her letter of resignation that she is taking employment elsewhere as a full-time police officer.
*Announced that electronic recycling will be held on Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon.
*Council President Bob Robinson reported the borough is continuing its inquiries into the possibility of incorporating LED lighting throughout the area. They have been in contact with a representative from First Energy, who is providing information on the subject.