A Quakertown Community School District official has promised to weigh even the lightest winter precipitation more heavily after freezing rain caused three mild school bus accidents Friday.In a letter home to parents and guardians district superintendent Lisa Andrejko apologized for a decision to go ahead with the regular school schedule in spite of freezing rain predictions but said later no students were hurt in the winter mishaps.

"They weren't major accidents or anything. There weren't any injuries or anything like that. No real damage," said Andrejko Monday after sending home the personally signed letters to parents.

Andrejko said Monday that one bus with nearly a full load of students had gotten stuck at the side of the road in the wintry conditions and one empty bus and one containing two students had slid off the road Friday.

However, Andrejko said that in all three cases accidents had not been serious enough even to report and all three buses had eventually continued on their way without assistance.

In her letter home to parents, Andrejko in part blamed the district's early 5:30 a.m. deadline to delay or cancel school for the decision saying the school's bus contractor Levy Bus Company had reported conditions were clear to begin its routes.

"As you well know, the precipitation changed after that time," Andrejko wrote to parents adding that forecasts had indicated the district was located on a line between predicted rain and freezing rain.

She said the district's decision to move ahead with a normal start time for school had been based on the assumption that most of the district would receive rain only with heavier showers as the morning went on.

"Roads were treated with brine and preliminary reports indicated the buses were moving slowly, but on the way,"

Andrejko wrote.

She added that other neighboring districts deciding to delay the start of their school day had done so after Quakertown Community School District students were already in route during a period when the weather became suddenly worse.

"What we have found. There was a window of 20 minutes," said Andrejko on Monday after issuing the letter to patients.

Despite the lack of seriousness of the three bus mishaps, Andrejko said the school district had decided as a result to be "more conservative" in future decisions about delaying or canceling school.

"Please accept the most sincere apology for my not being more conservative with the decision this morning," Andrejko wrote.

She said, however, that parents would need to be understanding if future based on weather predictions alone lead to occasional delays or cancellations when weather later proved not to be a problem.

Warren Levy, owner of Levy School Bus Company, Trumbauersville, could not be reached for comment concerning the incidents involving the buses Tuesday morning.

Shawn Hessinger is the managing editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. He contacted by e-mail at editor@berksmontnews.com

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