Board discusses budget, safety, facilities

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Safety plans, the budget and infrastructure concerns were among the items discussed at the Sierra Sands Unified School District’s Board of Education meeting Jan. 17. The meeting began with a presentation from the district’s “newest” school, Gateway Elementary School, celebrating its 20th birthday with a presentation on its achievements.

District Superintendent Joanna Rummer announced that this month’s districtwide student attendance rate is 95.8 percent, which she said is “very strong.”

Board President Bill Farris announced that there are no complaints on file at this time. “We love it when there’s nothing to report on this item,” quipped Farris.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Ernie Bell reported on the current status of school safety plans. “Each school has reviewed their school safety plan, and all meet the requirements of the School Safety Code,” said Bell. The documents have been submitted to the state and copies are available for review at the school sites.

In his report to the board on Measure “A” and other construction activities and issues, Bruce Auld said that the Geographic Index Appeal for new construction funding that was sent to Sacra-mento was returned unprocessed. Auld said the appeal was not considered because the state simply has no funds for new school construction. “It is not our style to give up,” said Auld. “We’re figuring out another way to approach this.”

The project to repair Gateway School’s leaking pyramid-shaped skylight covers is under way. The pyramids are being removed and the shafts are being fitted with leak-proof caps, provided by Local Contractor Dave Campbell.

Included in the project is placement of electrical lines so that light fixtures can be installed in the spaces later, if need be, to compensate for the loss of natural light from the skylights. So far, the classrooms are sufficiently well-lit with existing fixtures that extra light does not now appear to be needed.

The heating, venting, and air conditioning drain replacement at Las Flores Elementary School were completed over the winter holiday.

The next big project is slated for the April-May-June time slot. The Siemens Company is under contract to replace a chiller unit, part of the air-conditioning system at Burroughs High School’s Parker Performing Arts Center. “We’re planning to be done by the end of school. There may not be air conditioning there in June,” said Auld.

In the annual accounting of developer fees, Elaine Jansen, assistant supervisor for business services, announced that these are one-time fees charged for new real estate developments as a funding source for schools. “We’re charging at Level 1, the lowest level, and we’re continuing to charge at the 2008 level, which is $2.97 per square foot for residential construction, and 47 cents per square foot for commercial construction,” said Jansen.

Although the state has authorized a “bump-up” to Level 2, Jansen said, “We’re not asking for a bump-up in rates at this time.”

There was some discussion of the governor’s budget and what various provisions might mean to the district, but Jansen pointed out that until the legislature finalizes the budget, no one will have clear and definitive answers.

Story First Published: 2013-01-23