East Valley School District play fields used by soccer and softball leagues and other sports groups must be outfitted with handicap-accessible portable toilets.
That’s the upshot of a federal complaint over a lack of equal access for the disabled at the playing fields behind Trentwood Elementary School.
The Civil Rights office of the U.S. Department of Education received the complaint in mid-October. Officials aren’t saying who filed the complaint, citing privacy rights.
“I don’t want to make light of the matter, but I about fell off my chair,” said East Valley superintendent Chuck Stocker.
Stocker said the school district and the regional office of the federal Department of Education last week agreed that if regular portable toilets are set up on school district property, portable toilets that are accessible to disabled people also must be supplied. The agreement is effective next spring.
If monitoring showed that the agreement was not upheld, the school district’s federal money could be in jeopardy, said Roger Murphy, Education Department spokesman in Washington, D.C.
The decision to supply each playing field with a handicap-accessible portable toilet means added expense for the Spokane Valley Youth Soccer Association and other sports groups. The cost of the special units is about double that of a regular one.
East Valley and other school districts require portable toilets on the playing fields, because of the crowds of players and spectators seeking relief.
It is not clear whether the requirement could apply to other Valley playing fields.
“We raised the fee so we could do those (the regular porta-potties),” said Gus Schmauch, who volunteers in the soccer office.
Dale Boudro, owner of B&B; Sani-Kans in Hayden Lake, the firm that supplies portable toilets for the soccer group, said the demand for handicap-accessible portable toilets has grown to the point that he now owns 40 of them.
He provides them both as a courtesy to people and because the law demands it. But that doesn’t mean he likes the bigger units. His costs go up, through added purchase price, vandalism and extra transportation costs. A required 40-second delay device on the doors seems to invite vandalism, Boudro said.
“I lose money on every one of those I put out,” he said.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Marny Lombard Staff writer Staff writer Patrick Strawbridge contributed to this story.