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Superintendent urges patience with transportation routes

September 10, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Area School District superintendent addressed the school board and parents on Wednesday about transportation problems experienced in the first two weeks of school.

Superintendent Joseph Padasak said most of the problems are getting better.

The problems originated because of new school times and a significant reduction in the number of bus transfers, he said.

The district started encountering problems with the 900 hours of instructional time required each year when the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced recess and lunch are non-instructional periods, Padasak said. Because of this, the elementary students now go to school from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and secondary from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Transportation changes will greatly benefit special education students, 80 percent of whom missed needed instructional time, the superintendent said.

In a January 2008 survey, parents were split on whether they wanted elementary school to start at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.

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High school students are quickly figuring out transportation changes made because of building construction, Padasak said. Elementary students' transportation problems mean some students are still arriving home late, he said.

Before, buses arrived at elementary schools and waited for students to be dismissed. Now they roll in at different times, he said.

Contrary to some parents' e-mailed comments, Padasak emphasized that all schools have supervision when students are waiting for buses. The school board on Wednesday shifted teachers' work hours by 10 minutes to help with transportation.

Padasak asked for patience until everyone involved falls into a routine.

"We do 10,000 miles a day," he said.

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