September 2002 : LUSENET : Diversity coalitions : One Thread

News and views September 2002

-- Anonymous, September 03, 2002


BOICEVILLE - School officials hope that providing more detail in the Onteora bus route booklet will reduce the number of phone calls with questions about student pickup times and locations.

The update was provided during a Board of Education meeting last week, when trustees were told that administrators are seeking to have precision in the schedule.

"Every year at this time it's pretty hard for transportation ... but we normally put together books that we put out in stores and people have to run crazy and the phones ring off the hook and I work all through Labor Day weekend answering them," district Transportation Director Mike Grehl said.

"This year ... thanks to our new computerized program, we have every high school and elementary route with the exact stop and the exact time of pickup," he said. "If you are to be picked up at 7:53 (a.m.) it's (listed) there."

Officials expect most students will recognize their pickup locations without a problem.

"There are no names so you're going to have to look (to) know where your student gets on," Grehl said. "If you don't ... we are going to field calls from people who are confused or can't find it."

Copies of the bus schedules have been distributed to area post offices and some stores in the district.

"I'm hoping that this becomes a huge success for us," he said. "This is a ... setup which should prove to be very effective, very important, and very successful."

Freeman Aug.30 newsid=5201933&BRD=1769&PAG=461&dept_id=74969&rfi=8

-- Anonymous, September 03, 2002

Rumor going around that Onteora will not be allowing backpacks in the halls this year, and that there will be extra time between classes in order to pick up books and supplies needed from lockers.

Anyone else have any more information on this?

-- Anonymous, September 03, 2002

No rumor - got a letter early in the summer from the Middle School saying just that. Recommended purchasing backpacks that would fit in the lockers. I'm glad to see back-saving measures being taken on behalf of these young and developing spines (maybe also my son will stop using his as a catch-all).

-- Anonymous, September 03, 2002

Re: the Ryan engineer boss says there are only 2 sources of CO2 in a building: people breathing and furnace by- product. In addition to asbestos and mold removal, I hope this whole remediation process includes thorough evaluation for heating system leaks. There's no cutting corners/costs when it comes to children's health.

-- Anonymous, September 03, 2002

As far as I can tell it looks like the CARE for OCS website is history. No?


-- Anonymous, September 03, 2002

Looks like it, though it was up in a new version a few weeks ago, as I mentioned here. I just went up through their address, and the other levels are inaccessible too. When was the last time they put out Smoke Signals, or whatever the journal was called?

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2002

Thanks to those who closed the Ryan Building. Daily nose bleeds that occur only during the school year and disappear during the summer are not the result of increased CO2 levels. Mold tests should have been included with the other air quality tests conducted last Spring...not as an afterthought. At least serious action is now being taken. Thank you again.

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2002

My regards to all. Here's a preview of a letter I just sent to the Daily Freeman. If my writing sounds personal, it is. I began my schooling in the Ryan Building in 1960 and it upsets me greatly to hear that once solid and maintainable school buildings may be in the process of slow destruction...not to mention the discomfort being experienced by children and staff, one of whom is my sister.

If I learned nothing else as an Onteora student, I learned to take pride in my community and its members. It's also where I got my start in business practices:

"In corporate accounting practices, depreciation of assets is calculated annually, while scheduled maintenance and repair is budgeted for the future. Let's say a roof is expected to last 25 years. At Onteora, when leaks occur, temporary measures are taken for long periods of time. Then the financial decision for the obvious and neglected repair is put to a district-wide VOTE. Please tell me why does protecting our facility investment have to be put to a vote? It's a given! We've had possibly 25 years to prepare for this expense! Without safe and sound school structures, we have no schools! Any business would fail if they engaged in this logic of postponing the inevitable.

Let's just imagine the last referendum for replacing the roofs at West Hurley Elementary didn't pass. What then? Think also of the precious time lost in preparing for the vote when the work, known to be needed 25 years ago, could have already been in progress.

In life there are certain realities--building maintenance and repair is one of them--they are not options. If we had accepted our maintenance and fiscal responsibilities sooner, possibly relocating classrooms as a result of mold and related remediation would not be an issue today. Let's get back to smart accounting."

-- Anonymous, September 06, 2002

Sorry if I was out of circulation for awhile but i had a nasty computer virus and lost lots of data and files. I was literally down for a month!

Thanks to Laaurel for the updates on the Ryan Building problems. I feel it was a wise decision by the board because they can only best base their actions of concrete facts. The first response from Mike O'Rourke, PHD from BOCES, was that the ventilation needed to be addressed and that was the course the board initially followed. But it must be stressed that the board insisted that vigorous testing follow and the contingnecy evacuation plan be continued to be worked out by Principal Bobbie Schnell.

Unfortunately that wasn't what many people in the Hurley district wanted to see done. But the board can only use the criteria from experts and not rumors from parents. Yes, children did have symptoms as reported by parents. But all schools have a number of students with these ailments. It is a big step to evacuate a building and it must be done with prudence and careful thought. The health of the children was the biggest concern for everyone involved in my opinion.

Fortunately the right action is now being persued. I feel the timing was unfortunate especially that the tests weren't done earlier. But I wonder if that decision was made by Dr. O'Rourke.

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2002

Welcome back, Jim! Hope you and your family had a great summer. Have to say I had one of the best. You remember my daughter, Heather, who along with other students attended some of our meetings last year? Well, she's off to Ecuador for her senior year on scholarship from the International Rotary Club and loving it. We're so pleased and grateful.

You are right, the Ryan Building (and who knows what else) is one of the many situations our new board members unfortunately inherited. They are certainly not to blame for what wasn't accomplished before they took their seats. And knowing them as I do, they'll certainly be asking all the right questions in order to make informed decisions.

If I had a wish list, this is what it would look like:

- Comparative CO2 tests would be conducted to determine if the elevated rate is due to people’s breathing.

- The heating system would be thoroughly investigated for leaks- -furnace byproduct being the only other source of CO2 in a building.

- Unit ventilators, though possibly needed for CO2 removal, would not in any way be considered a solution for mold remediation.

- Moisture/vapor barriers would be installed between the concrete base and the new floor tiles to prevent them from curling as happened to the last ones due to chronic moisture exposure from the ground.

- Removal of all mold-damaged material.

- Roof replacement or repair.

- Notice that, at this time, the integrity of the original structure of the Ryan Building (over a basement) is more intact than its subsequent additions (over concrete slab).

- Mold tests become incorporated into the given regimen of current air quality tests.

- Mold testing becomes a matter of course for all school buildings in all school districts.

Given the competency of our school board, I know this situation is headed towards a very satisfactory outcome.

Have a great weekend everyone, LH

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2002

Lauren - Sounds like a great experience for your daughter!

I think this board will do the right thing. Tom's experience with this type of situation is unparalelled. I am confident the problems will be resolved but it does open the question of... what is the future of the Ryan building?

The one BIG problem as I understand, is the lose of the library in the Levins building. I understand that was a great facility! So that issue must be resolved if the Ryan building doesn't have a student population in it's future.

The thing we must recognize is that while we all successfully worked so hard to change the majority of the board and NOW they must govern. THAT is the most difficult part. From my little experience in tryng to help the Woodstock parents articulate their goals to the board I've learned one thing. No matter what our new board does... they will offend someone. USually someone who supported us/them in the election. I feel it is now more important than ever that we, SOS, understand the importance of being able to articulate the positions of the board and clarify the issues at hand. We may not agree with the board all the time but it is our duty to try to keep the communication open for all to be able to better to understand the issues.

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2002

Thanks for your response, Jim. Are you saying that the Levins Library is no longer available at this time because it is being used as classroom space? Am I also hearing that the Ryan Building damage is so great it may not be usable as a school ever again or do you mean it won't be accessible for a long period of time? I find it hard to believe that total remediation is impossible. Regardless, space for the library is needed (the firehouse could be a great temporary space--students used to walk there for assemblies, concerts and religious instruction). Thanks for maintaining the channels of communication for airing the issues and for keeping us

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2002


-- Anonymous, September 14, 2002

As far as the West Hurley School library, anyone transferring books should perhaps confer first with the Marbletown school officials. As I recall, after their big mold cleanup, they still found spores in some of the library books.

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2002

Hi Carol - Is there a library in the Ryan Building?

-- Anonymous, September 15, 2002

Oh, does this mean that the Levins library is actually in the main building? Or is it just lost due to classes moved into it, like at Bennett? I didn't know, was trying to figure out from context.

-- Anonymous, September 15, 2002

The Ryan Building (K-2) consists of the "original"* 2-room schoolhouse with a cafetorium and 2 wings of classrooms added on in the 50s/60s. The mold problem is in the last addition of 2 classrooms.

The Levins Building (3-6) was built in 1964. All classes are now being held in the Levins Building.

* the original 1-room schoolhouse was located where the playground is now.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

Although I was never in it, my understanding is that the Levins Bldg. had a wonderful,award-winning library. But now due to the present circumstances the library is now mobile on a cart. There has been frustration about this vented to some of the board members.

Sorry it took so long to reply buit I'm out of the habit and not on my machine as much.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

Maybe once this board has had a chance to rectify past inadequacies, perhaps we should institute a new rule that any time when there is art and music and library "a la cart," all school board members will also be seated on carts at meetings, with displaced teachers pushing them over to a single microphone when they want to speak.

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2002

What an interesting development according to the Freeman story. However, it's not the 67-year-old part of the Ryan that's defective-- it's the 40-year-old part.

Isn't this a wonderful example of how good comes from bad?--when the inconvenience of moving proves to be a benefit for all concerned?

Yes, let's consider other uses for the Ryan Building besides classrooms. If that 40-year-old addition needs to be razed, so be it.

My only concern is architects are not qualified to conduct civil and environmental engineering evaluations. Possibly the additions were designed by architects without input from engineers--hence unforeseen problems developed. Hopefully this group of architects is subcontracting the all proper personnel for this project (including a Certified Industrial Hygienist who specializes in Indoor Air & Biological Contamination). Let me know if you need a referral.

Good luck, everyone.

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2002

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