Ten parents of Willow Lane Elementary School students addressed the East Penn Board of School Directors Monday in a continued effort to make sure their children will be safe.
Each in turn addressed the nine board members with similar issues: the current lack of signage or any traffic calming measures on either Willow or Sauerkraut lanes or Millcreek Road in Lower Macungie.
Since the public comment segment of the meeting is not interactive, East Penn Superintendent Thomas Seidenberger waited until later in the meeting to address the parents' comments and pleas, and to point to himself as the missing piece in the puzzle of how safety measures have not yet been placed in the school zone.
Seidenberger was adamant about two things: the children's safety is paramount, and Willow Lane Elementary was designed as a walking school from day one.
He also reported that he and several other East Penn officials, including the school district's engineer, met Friday with Lower Macungie Township officials including Manager Bruce Fosselman and the township's engineer.
The meeting was fruitful and friendly, Seidenberger said, and both the district and the township will speak with one voice going forward as safety and traffic calming measures are chosen and put in place.
A committee comprising Willow Lane Principal Anthony Moyer and representatives of all the neighborhoods concerned will discuss the needs of the school's walking paths, crosswalks and parking area, the results of which will shape the work to be done there, Seidenberger said.
And though Seidenberger offered documented proof that Willow Lane has always been a walking school, he said it was he who "dropped the ball" when it came to following up with township officials to make sure safety measures were put in place by the fall of 2010 when the school opened.
"I take full responsibility," Seidenberger said for not following up with township officials since the township is responsible for providing signage and whatever else is deemed necessary.
Seidenberger also said that the district is looking at all of the busing for all of its 10 schools. He also touched on the fairness of having students who live 1.5 miles or less from the school lose the busing they have enjoyed since Willow Lane opened.
All students who live less than 1.5 miles from any East Penn elementary school are "walkers." The distance is defined by the state, he explained, and it would not be fair to students at Alburtis, Jefferson or Lincoln elementary schools if Willow Lane students were not also included in the 1.5-mile definition.
District and township officials will meet again soon, he said, and safety measures are expected to be in place before school starts in the fall.