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Education - Bristol Borough

School Board Tells Wildcats Field Can’t Be Used Until Work is Completed

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At last weeks Bristol Borough School Board Meeting district officials told a borough based  youth football program, football fields for now will be restricted for use and fees will be charged moving forward.

District officials explained  work is being done to the field currently and until that is completed use of the field will be restricted.

Chapman and supporters of the Bristol Wildcats went before members of Bristol Borough Council days before. Council offered Chapman and the football families two options at the meeting. Come under the umbrella of Borough’s Recreation Authority, where permits, fees, and field use (on Bristol Borough property) would not be an issue. Or remain independent and have to apply for field use before school district officials.

Chapman choose to remain independent.

Prior to  the board explaining its position on the matter Chapman, leader and coach of the youth organization read from prepared remarks.

He  cited the “great relationship” the Wildcats have had with the school district over the past nine years.  He said  the non-profit has provided  documents, upgrading the team’s insurance policy and pointed to the work parents of players and volunteer coaches do after using the district fields in the last nine years.

In an emotional plea he said  “The Wildcats family stand before you tonight as for a resolution to this situation so our kids can play the sport our community has helped us build and provide to our boys and girls that we have done for the last nine years that’s it thank you.” as a round of applause thundered in support of his comments.

Officials said the field needs to be hydra-seeded, and will cost about $3000.00 for the work to be completed on the section of the field that is owned by the district.

School District employees were out last week placing stake markers on the field that is being worked on Credit: Jeff Bohen, Lower Bucks Source

A smaller section of the field is owned by Amtrak, which can be used, as long as the train company agrees, officials said. Chapman said he has approval from Amtrak to use that section.

Stakes were placed on the field Friday morning by district work crews outlining the area that can not be used presently.

School Board President Dave Chichilitti presented a “time-line” of events about the process of maintaining the field that began in early March.

We’ve seeded the field twice so far and it didn’t take, he said, and now the added work is being done and as result we need people to stay away from the field otherwise it’s going to cost the district even more than the approximate $3000.00 price tag its now costing.

The board explained, in addition, field occupancy fees will be levied for any future use of district fields due to custodial costs.

Chichilitti explained those costs are above and beyond what tax payers already pay in taxes assessed.

Brittney Dugan listening to District officials explain the “Taxes” question
Credit: YouTube

District Solicitor David Truelove the state laws involved while those details were shown on a screen for meeting attendees to see.

Truelove detailed the nuances of the School Code of 1949 which allows school districts to lease/rent property and be reimbursed for costs associated with use. 

The exact fees for use of the field will be determined at a later date and is dependent on factors such as how many games weekly, district employee costs to name to.

Chichilitti said the district won’t charge one cent more than what the costs incurred by the Wildcats organization or any other organization who applies to use district owned properties.

Board member John D’Angelo along with fellow board members agreed they made a mistake for not maintaining the usual policy for use of the field, letting the Wildcats play there for free over the years.

“We’re trying to get everything right, no one is picking on your group and we’re trying to help you,” he said,

Chapman said Friday morning in a post the league secured a playing field for the spring flag football season, however that location was not divulged. Parents were none the less were thrilled to hear that news, after concerns were raised about where flag football would be played.

Chris Chapman at Thursday Night’s School Board meeting
Credit: Screen Shot YouTube

The board encouraged Chapman to get the organizations paperwork in for the Fall football season early so all the details could be worked as soon as possible so the organization can use the high school field.

There was a breakdown in  communications that started the work on the field, officials said.

“We’ve been trying to show you we started the work on the field before we knew what Chris’ plans were, said Chichilitti .

“We’re not restricting you from using the field forever” he said.

Repeatedly Chichilitti  asked Chapman, do we have an understanding that the field for now is off limits for use by any organization.

Chapman did not respond directly to the question, but said players  will use the section of the field owned by Amtrak.

That section the district said is going to be worked on too.

Chapman insisted the Wildcats could use that section of the field which led to the School Board President saying, do what you feel you need to do.  We’ve explained the position and once the work is completed you’re more than welcome to come back and use the field.

Of course supporters of the organization were frustrated by what they heard but some took a pragmatic approach to the situation.

” I see both sides of the issue” said one Bristol parent who has children involved with the Wildcats and Bristol Borough Recreation, I was kind of hoping there was going to be different kind of resolution but it seems communication and understanding of how the government operates seems something we all need to understand better”

 

 

 

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Education - Bensalem Township

Reach Cyber Charter School’s Class of 2024

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Reach Cyber Charter School recently held their in-person commencement graduation ceremony for 739  high school seniors. Among the graduating class was 24 graduates hailing from Bucks County. Family, friends and faculty were on hand to celebrate the graduates.

“On behalf of the entire staff and faculty of Reach Cyber, I’d like to give a warm congratulations to the Reach Cyber Class of 2024! We are immensely proud of all their accomplishments,” said Jane Swan, Reach Cyber Charter School CEO. “With the strong foundation this group of students has built during their time at Reach Cyber, I am confident that they are prepared to take on the next great adventure in their lives – whether that’s college, a job, military service, or other opportunities. We can’t wait to see all the incredible things they will do and the impact they will have in their communities and beyond.”

School officials said the students in the Class of 2024 have diverse backgrounds, educational histories, and talents, and all chose a cyber charter education to fit their unique interests, needs and abilities, Reach Cyber’s personalized and flexible learning environment, designed specifically for a virtual setting, offers students the opportunity to learn at their own pace, pursue their passions, or receive additional support that may not be available to them at their local brick-and-mortar schools.

In total, the Class of 2024 earned more than $1 million in scholarships toward their higher education pursuits. Fifty-five percent of the graduates plan to continue their education at a 2-year or 4-year college, 28% have plans to enter the workforce, 5% will go on to vocational training, 2% are entering a branch of the military, and 10% are taking a gap year or pursuing other endeavors post grad, said Reach’s spokesperson.

Reach Cyber Charter School Class of 2024 graduates from Bucks County:

Aisha Almroot
Gabrielle Baez
Erin Black
Trinity Brenner
Isaiah Brown
Aiden Cicale
David Cox
Alayna Crabtree
Gloria DeOliveira
Margaret Drake
Wyatt Frederick
Alyse James
Savanna Janiszewski
Ashley Mazzeo
Carter McAuley
Anastasia Patton
Tyler Pinkham
Christopher Raffa
Lynken Randt
Stephen Scott
Tanisha Smith
Leandro Vasquez-Roman
Logan Werner
Sabina Zeka

The Class of 2024 is the sixth class to graduate from Reach Cyber Charter School, which opened in 2016. Additionally, 20 graduates were inducted into the Founders Club, honoring those students who attended Reach Cyber for the school’s full eight years of operation.

ABOUT REACH CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL

Reach Cyber Charter School is a STEM-focused online public charter school for K-12 students in Pennsylvania. Reach Cyber provides students with a high-quality curriculum infused with STEM learning designed specifically for a virtual learning environment. At Reach Cyber, students have a dedicated and expansive support system of teachers, counselors, and family mentors to help them reach their potential. Reach Cyber allows students to personalize their education, offering traditional, accelerated, and yearlong pacing options that support students’ individualized needs.

Since opening in 2016, Reach Cyber has grown to support nearly 7,000 students in grades K-12 through Pennsylvania. Reach Cyber provides a high-quality curriculum infused with STEM learning and one-of-a-kind career exploration and development opportunities for students in all grade levels.

For more information, call 717-704-8437 or visit their website.

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Education - Bensalem Township

House Passes Legislation to Correct Pennsylvania’s Education Funding Inequities

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Earlier this month, in the state’s government,  House Bill 2370 legislation passed in the House . The bill is designed to bring adequacy, equity and stability to Pennsylvania’s education funding system.

In 2023, the courts ruled Pennsylvania’s school funding was unconstitutional because the current system is inequitable. HB 2370 will correct these inequities while creating $136 million in property tax relief for the upcoming fiscal year and $955 million in property tax relief over seven years,  said state Representative Tina Davis.

For the 2024-25 school year, according to Davis, the bill adds:

  • $728 million for chronically underfunded schools
  • $530 million in cyber charter savings
  • $200 million so every school district receives an increase

The property tax relief, Davis said, comes from the state taking funding burdens away from local taxes, such as property taxes, by addressing the previous inadequacies in state funding.

HB 2370 is now in the Senate for its consideration.

 

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Education - Bristol Borough

Bristol Borough School District Hires from Within to Fill Principal, Asst Principal Positions at Elementary School

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The Bristol Borough School District announced the hiring of new leadership beginning July 1 at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School.

Schoolboard President Dave Chichilitti said Wednesday he’s really excited about the appointments of Ms. Julie Balcer, as the new principal and Ms. Danielle Leyrer, as the elementary assistant principal at Snyder-Girotti.

Former principal Kelli Rosado tendered her resignation in March, officials said, however no explanation for her leaving in the middle of the academic year was provided.

Balcer began her educational journey in 2009 at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. Over the past 15 years, she has made significant contributions as a 6th-grade teacher, a 5th-grade special education teacher, and later as a kindergarten teacher. In the past year, she has served as Dean of Students and Acting Principal of Snyder-Girotti, demonstrating her leadership skills and dedication to the school community, officials said.

Leyrer is a dedicated educator who is committed to empowering students and educators by fostering a supporting and enriching learning environment. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Millersville University. She completed her master’s degree and Principal Certification at Pennsylvania Western University – California, says a district release.

The duo were approved for the new “official” roles unanimously by the board last week.

Balcer is scheduled to make $125,000.00 per year and Leyrer has an 11- month contract coming in at just over $104,000.00.

Both Chichilitti and Truelove said they could not answer any questions with regards to any personal or social media related comments on personnel matters of any kind.

“As for social media posts not authorized by the District, we can’t comment on those matters…” in regard to recent allegations made and reported on by Lower Bucks Source last week which were commented on by a self-reported school district employee.

If any parent is having some kind of issue or concern, Chichilitti said, please reach out to us. We’re here for the students of school district and their parents and or guardians. We encourage everyone to contact us with questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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