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Letter from BOE Chair Richard Yercheck to the Board of County Commissioners

Dear Commissioners:

As the recent rains have demonstrated, and as attested to in the attached letter from the Principal of Sun Valley High School, the roofing problems, leaks and subsequent damage occurring at our schools need immediate attention. (The Sun Valley High School letter is representative of conditions at too many of our schools.) You recognized that need in your December 2 letter, which offered an additional $9.4 million this year “to be used for roofs identified by Nelson Hall during trial as being in need of repair or replacement” (conditioned, however, on our settling the lawsuit).

You previously appropriated, on October 21, 2013, an additional $5,357,859 to address our original capital outlay request, which included roof repairs and replacement at the following schools, and in the following estimated amounts:

ROOF REPLACEMENT – BOE REQUEST 2013-14

Forest Hills High School (22,447 SF) $ 313,697
East Union Middle School (12,330 SF) $ 193,811
Monroe High School (16,966 SF) $ 237,100
Piedmont High School (13,902 SF)  $ 194,280
Sun Valley High School (23,400 SF) $ 390,000
Indian Trail Elementary School (21,562 SF) $ 317,000
Wesley Chapel Elementary School (42,524 SF) $ 749,870
TOTALS: 153,131 SF - $2,395,758

In the remainder of this letter I will update you on the status of these roofing projects and on our current, urgent request.

The additional $5.3 million you appropriated is enabling us to proceed on these projects, all of which are in the design phase. For the roofing projects at Indian Trail, Forest Hills, and Wesley Chapel, we anticipate going out to bid in late January. As you may recall, in between the time we submitted our budget request and the end of the 2012-13 school year, the East Union Middle School project and emerging needs at Indian Trail became critical and were switched out for the project at CATA (which was budgeted at $275,000, which had been planned for the 2012-13 school year for partial roof replacement). The projects at Sun Valley High, Piedmont High, CATA, and Monroe High are anticipated to go out for bid in February. A portion of the CATA project is being deferred.

I want to make abundantly clear that the roofing projects at each of these facilities are not complete roof replacements. Rather, they are for specific buildings and roof section numbers, for defined areas and square footage. So, for example, the reroofing project at Sun Valley High School (in the amount of $390,000) covers 23,400 square feet for roofing areas 1, 11, 15, 16, 18 and 19 (as detailed in our capital outlay request for the fiscal year 2014 budget), but additional critical reroofing needs remain in other areas of Sun Valley High School, as identified by Nelson Hall. These additional identified areas total 35,906 square feet at an estimated project cost of $538,590 for reroofing additional portions of roofs over classrooms, the science building, kitchen, auditorium, lobby, canopy, entryway and cafeteria, as shown on the attached spreadsheet. The attached spreadsheet identifies specific schools, buildings and roofing areas by building number and roofing section number, setting forth the square footage and estimated amounts for each area of the most critical reroofing needs identified by Nelson Hall & Associates, totaling $9,454,005.

In addition to these needs, we have at least one additional emerging roofing project at Parkwood High School that appears to be critical. It is at the auditorium, building number 002, section numbers 01 and 02. This is now in the design phase. The total square footage for that project is 8,306, at an estimated cost of $124,590. This would bring the total of the most critical reroofing needs still to be funded up to an amount of $9,578,595.

These roofing needs are critical and must be addressed. The sooner they are addressed, the less costly these projects. The additional damage being incurred by further delay will only increase costs. Beyond that, the constant disruptions from ongoing leaks, the loss of staff time and instructional time, the health and safety needs of our students and staff, and the expectations of our parents and citizens can no longer be ignored with regard to these projects.

We would urge you to provide immediate funding so that we can begin to address these problems. They should not be held hostage to an ultimate settlement of the jury verdict. With or without a verdict, these are real needs that must be met and will only get worse over time.

Finally, I want to address your offer in your December 2 letter to appropriate an additional $1,797,444 to the local current expense fund for the current fiscal year (2013-14) to increase our teacher supplement. Thank you for recognizing and offering to address this serious need. That additional funding would not actually increase the average teacher supplement to the state average, as it does not include benefit costs. The actual amount needed to increase our teacher supplements to last year’s state average (which would still lag behind this year’s state average) would be: $1,926,521.

We appreciate your recognition of the need to increase our teacher supplements and would urge you to take action to do so now, rather than conditioning it on an overall settlement.

As with the capital outlay request above, the Board of Education is willing to credit these amounts paid by the County Commissioners against the current expense and capital outlay amounts awarded by the jury. They are, however, urgent needs that must be responsibly addressed, irrespective of the final outcome of court proceedings or any settlement.

While I and other board members appreciate some of the conversations we have had with various ones of you over the last week or so, we are now requesting an immediate appropriation that will address these critical needs, so that we can begin to fulfill our responsibilities and respond to the legitimate expectations of those we all serve. We look forward to your response, which we hope will be positive and prompt.

Very truly yours,

 

Richard Yercheck

Sun Valley Roofing Needs Attachment

PDF version of this letter

Written by: Richard Yercheck, Union County Board of Education Chair
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 by Rob Jackson

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