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New buses for the new school year

Posted on Monday, September 3, 2012 at 4:00 am

WESTMORELAND COUNTY SCHOOLS has five new buses for the 2012-13 school year. Dr. Rebecca Lowry, left, poses with middle school student Aarion Taylor, Terry Rich, elementary student Jemetrius Taylor, high school student Jhamari Kelley, and Conway Payne and two of the new air-conditioned buses.

The Westmoreland County Public School system is gearing up for another school year. On Aug. 22, new and returning teachers and staff gathered in the cafeteria of Washington & Lee High School to welcome each other and get started on what Superintendent Dr. Rebecca Lowry says will be a successful year.

Along with new teachers, the county also has five new school buses for the new school year. The buses are air-conditioned and larger than any currently in the county’s fleet. The buses can carry 65 to 77 students and two of the buses are fitted with wheel chair lifts.

“The addition of the new buses has enabled consolidation of certain routes which saves valuable fuel and repair costs with the older models,” Lowry said.

Lowry also reported that all of the schools’ parking lots will be repaved before school opens on Sept. 4.

“This will be a real boost in spirit to students, parents, staff and member of the community who have to cross those parking areas on a daily basis,” Lowry said. “It will be nice now to walk normally from your car to the school building without the fear of injuring a foot or ankle.”

Lowry said that the school system could not have had new buses and parking lots without the participation of the county’s board of supervisors.

“We are most appreciative of the collaboration with the county’s board of supervisors and particularly [Norm] Risavi, our county administrator, who worked very diligently with us throughout this year’s budgeting process to make both the bus purchases and paving projects possible,” Lowry said.

Even though Lowry celebrated the new buses and paving, she warned that financial concerns still existed.

“Everywhere is facing growing demands and diminishing resources,” Lowry said. “We are no different. We have to talk about [the positive] things we do every chance we get.”

She encouraged teachers to share their student success stories with other teachers, parents and the community.

“We need to emphasis the fruits of our labors,” Lowry said. “Westmoreland has a vast number of very dedicated teachers and staff who give a tremendous number of hours beyond the school day to the education of our students and these improvements to our schools speak volumes to the clear appreciation of their work.”