Aging infrastructure is catching up with the East Valley School District and its sense of security for students and staff.
During a recent audit with the district’s insurance carrier, it was found that several supposedly locked exterior doors at several schools could be pulled open.
“Those doors are wearing down,” said Superintendent Kelly Shea, whose district hasn’t passed a bond since 1996.
Outdated security, an old heating and air-conditioning system and the need to move several playing fields are the main reasons the district is putting a two-year, $13 million capital levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.
And even when they are secure, school personnel have no way of knowing whether someone has propped them open. That’s because East Valley schools have no system that would alert staff of a problem.
It gets worse, said Shea, who notes that schools also have antiquated public-address systems.
“It’s dependent on where you are in the building as to whether you can hear an announcement,” Shea said. “In emergency systems, it’s vital to make sure that you can be heard in all places.”
Buildings in the East Valley district “have a few cameras, but we have a number of blind spots,” Shea said.
The laundry list also includes interior deadbolts, single point of entry at all schools and emergency lockdown buttons.
Meanwhile, the HVAC system is becoming less cost-effective every year, and replacement parts are increasingly difficult to buy.
Outside, the Forker Road project is forcing relocation of several athletic fields, including those for football, softball and baseball.
Also in the levy are gym dividers in the middle schools and a new parking lot at 22-year-old Trentwood Elementary – the district’s newest school.
“That was the last major renovation,” Shea said. “We’ve tried several bonds since then … now we’re trying to use general funds, but many of these things outlived their time.”
The $13,064,000 levy would be collected in 2019 ($6,997,000) and 2020 ($6,067,000).
Even with the levy, cost per thousand would decrease thanks to the McCleary decision, from $6.65 per thousand of assessed value in 2018 to $6.22 the following two years.
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