Stop putting band aids on our school buildings

Dear Editor:

I have been a custodian with the school district for over 30 years. Over the last decade we have seen many changes throughout our schools, some mandated by State and Federal agencies and some dictated by disturbed individuals. Most of these have come without funding, which means that the School District has to find the resources within. Ultimately health, safety and education have to take precedence, even if the money is not available. This then redirects funds that should be used for maintenance and repairs and creates the band aid effect that we have to work with.

If a roof is leaking and it is 5 years past its life expectancy, just patch it up and wait for the next leak, put a band aid on it.

Individuals that have it in their minds to hurt our kids have caused us to install cameras throughout our building to monitor activities where supervision is not abundant. But yet we rely on a Stop sign (band aid) set up in our main entrances to ask that visitors sign in. A person that is on a mission to create problems is not willingly going to check in at the office.

When the need came to have handicap accessible seating on the home bleacher side of the George Larson field, the only option financially was to install a viewing platform with ramps (band aid). At the present time the only way a physically disabled person can watch an event would be to sit by themselves on the viewing platform, sit next to the fence by the field or go around to the visitor side of the field and sit on those bleachers (the visitor bleachers did not pass inspection years ago and had to be replaced within current ADA policies)

The health dept. found that the football field concession stand did not comply with currant regulations, so because of lack of funds the district had to rely on the help of the Jacket Backer Booster Club to do some quick repairs (band aid) to allow the concession stand to be used. These repairs are nowhere near what is needed to make this a permanent solution.

We have been working tirelessly trying to save energy. All of our schools have earned the Energy Star Award. We have avoided energy costs of over 30 percent, but now it is going to take more work to squeeze out those energy dollars. By addressing old roofs with low R value, addressing exterior windows and aging boilers some dating to the 1950s we can help trim our utility bills which in turn will free up dollars for more important issues.

I have not touched on all of the components of the referendum, but I hope that you can see why your Yes vote is so important. Taking care of the repair and maintenance issues will have a trickle down effect, by freeing up more resources to put toward the safety and security of our students and putting a stop to our band aid effect

My wife and I have sent 3 boys through our schools, and could not be any prouder of them and the educators that served them through their school years. Even though we do not have children or grandchildren in this School District, we will vote Yes on the referendum. The youth of our community deserve our help.

Jim Bulera