Friday, May 30, 2014

Serpentine Rock: Avoid Breathing Dust

Just wanted you to know ... In case you hadn't noticed.
  • When Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock was found at the construction site for Mountain Oaks School, officials isolated the dangerous rock and took precautions to contain it. The goal was to protect students and staff (for years to come) from coming into contact with this well-known health hazard. 
  • I'm wondering if this protocol and procedure might be applicable for Calaveras High School: can officials contain this dangerous, cancer-causing dust by building up a barrier (or buffer) and then paving over it? 
  • The road in question (unpaved) runs directly behind the visiting bleachers at the CHS stadium. The road ends at the tennis courts just beyond the stadium. A second warning sign is also posted in this area. 
  • It seems logical to isolate the Serpentine Rock and perhaps pave over it; that would cut down or minimize the dust and therefore the breathing hazard. 
  • I am also wondering if the soil beneath the stadium and/or the artificial turf sports field has ever been tested or assessed for Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock?
  • I fully understand that I'm not an expert; just a concerned citizen and a parent of a Calaveras High School student.

Asbestos: A hidden hazard in the hills

The Calaveras Asbestos Monofill near Copperopolis, once the site of the nation's largest asbestos mine, is now used to store asbestos-containing waste and old tires. (Amy Alonzo/Union Democrat).
The Calaveras Asbestos Monofill near Copperopolis, once the site of the nation's largest asbestos mine, is now used to store asbestos-containing waste and old tires. (Amy Alonzo/Union Democrat).
Part I
The Union Democrat
"More recently, asbestos has been found on 13 acres on Pool Station Road outside San Andreas, where the Calaveras County Office of Education plans to build new school buildings and classrooms for Mountain Ranch Community School and Mountain Oaks Charter School.
In all three cases, school officials plan to pave over the asbestos-tainted areas or contain the dangerous fibers in other ways."


Other Resources on Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock:

These elections are the heart & soul ...

This year (2014) is a very important year for the voters & taxpayers in Calaveras County.

We the people will be asked to vote for 2 Board of Supervisors and 3 Calaveras Unified School Board Trustees. 

These elections are the heart and soul of how we conduct business in Calaveras County.

If you are satisfied with the way our government, and school district conducts our business then vote them back in office.

If you desire a change then you need to seek our qualified candidates to campaign against the incumbents.  The choice is yours.  You must get involved to make a change. 

The people you elect are responsible for representing you in Local government. What will you demand from them?

We the people have power over the billionaire’s, special interests groups (and those who want bigger and bigger government).  

No matter who runs for political office they must be voted in by you? If you want change then vote for change.  --Don Most

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who is Keeping Track?

Of the Moisture, Mold, and Maintenance Issues at 
Jenny Lind Elementary?

Or is the better question: has anyone taken the responsibility to keep track of these issues as they have occurred over the course of several years? Furthermore, who is responsible for tracking the related health issues that may (or may not) stem from these reoccurring moisture, mold, and maintenance issues? There are some obvious agencies and institutions that come to mind:

*Public Health (Receives information through physician reporting)

*Environmental Health (No apparent jurisdiction)

*CAL-OSHA (Protects Employees only—not children)

*CUSD Maintenance and Operations

*CUSD Superintendent of Schools

*CUSD School Board

*Parents of Jenny Lind Elementary students

These are the agencies and institutions … but who “really” is keeping track of these serious issues that affect people (and most importantly children)? Unfortunately, there is not much parents can do if they are not informed or made aware of moisture, mold, and severe maintenance issues as they occur at an elementary school.

It really seems apparent that special care (monitoring) needs to be made a priority, especially when portables get past the recommended age (15 years) of use and occupancy. Please note that some of the portables on Jenny Lind Elementary are reaching their 24th year—having been built in Lathrop in 1988.

Who, then, is keeping track of the moisture, mold, and maintenance issues as they arise at JLE? How far back have these very same issues been dealt with? What classrooms are repeat offenders? What issues have been successfully resolved? How and when were they remediated? Was it a moisture or mold issue? Was anyone made aware of the issue? What type of notification did the parents receive when their child changed classrooms due to a moisture or mold issue? Have parents ever been notified when these types of environmental issues arise? If the parents are not made aware, who is ultimately protecting the welfare of students? We know that parents can only protect and advocate for their children if they are made aware of such issues.

There is a history of moisture, mold and poor indoor air quality issues at JLE—especially in regards to the aged portables. I believe there is also a history of health complications that have surfaced in connection with these reoccurring environmental issues. Unfortunately, it appears that no one is responsible for (you guessed it) … monitoring or keeping track of these occurrences.

If I’ve learned anything from this experience it is this: agencies can be made aware … but no one wants to be responsible. 

As a Parent and Citizen .... What Can You Do?

* Your voice is louder if you make a request or complaint in writing.
* Ask for specific records or documentation. For example: “HVAC Maintenance and Repair Logs for Room # ____”
* Request that all CUSD school site SARC reports (School Accountability Report Card) are accurate of current conditions of “Facilities.” Deterioration, large stucco cracks, and rooms closed to mold or moisture must be noted on the SARC. The plan for repair and maintenance of these items must also be listed on the report; currently they are not.
* Request to be informed of all issues related to mold, moisture and indoor air quality.
* Request a detailed plan for managing the use and retirement of aged portables.
* Assurance by CUSD must be backed up with full and accurate documentation.
* Find more info at            

Who Can You Contact?

CUSD District Office
Mark Campbell, Superintendent
P.O. Box 788, 3304 Hiway 12  #B
San Andreas, Ca. 95249             
(209) 754-2300
File a Williams Uniform Complaint:
Facility conditions:  (Education Code 35186, 35292.5; 5 CCR 4683

CUSD School Board Members
Sherri Reuche

Evan Garamendi

Greg Gustafson

Zerrall McDaniel

Karan Bowsher

Calaveras County Public Health Dept.
MPH, Director
Dean M. Kelaita, MD, Health Officer
Phone: (209) 754-6460
Fax: (209) 754-1709

Calaveras County Environmental Health Department
891 Mountain Ranch Road
San Andreas, CA 95249
Phone: (209) 754-6399
Fax: (209)754-6722


Formal complaints must be in writing: mail or fax to:

State of California Occupational Safety and Health-Cal OSHA

4206 Technology Dr, Ste 3, 
Modesto, CA 95356 
(209) 545-7310
Fax (209) 545-7313

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cargo Containers Used as Storage on CUSD School Sites

Cargo Containers Placed Alongside Calaveras High School Gym:

School districts may install cargo containers as storage units on school campuses under their own authority and are not required to submit the design to DSA for review and approval. Cargo containers can only be installed subject to the following limitations:

According to the California Department of General Services and the Division of the State Architect (IR A-27) a cargo "container shall be placed a minimum of twenty (20) feet from any building or property line." The majority of cargo containers on CUSD school sites are not compliant with the DSA (IR A-27) mandate. In some cases, cargo containers on CUSD school sites are only inches away from classroom buildings.

Cargo Containers Used as Storage
California Department of General Services . 
Division of the State Architect . Interpretation of Regulations Document

1.1 The maximum size is no greater than 10’ by 60’.

1.2 The height is no greater than 10’.

1.3 It is not used to store hazardous material that would trigger Group H occupancy.

1.4 They are not stacked upon each other or elevated by a substructure.

1.5 They are placed directly on even grade (not sloping more than 1:12) and at a
distance of five feet or more away from the top of any descending inclination having
slope greater than 1:12.

1.6 The container is not placed in fire access lanes.

1.7 The container is maintained so that its structural integrity is not compromised.

1.8 The container is not modified by the addition of doors or windows that would
compromise its structural integrity.

1.9 Container shall be placed a minimum of twenty (20) feet from any building or property line.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Report on California's Elementary School Truancy & Absenteeism Crisis

"Truancy, especially among elementary school students, has long-term negative effects. Students who miss school at an early age are more likely to struggle academically and, in later years, to drop out entirely."


  • Video--Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California
  • Elementary School Truancy Rates per county (Calaveras 31.3%)
  • Terms and Definitions related to truancy crisis

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Letter Sent to Supporters

From the desk of Allen Lujan                        Feb. 2014

I ran for CUSD Trustee (area 1) against incumbent Sherri Reusche in 2012. I want to thank all of you who voted for me for CUSD school board trustee.

 I lost with a small percentage: 53% to 46%, so you can see that many people truly did want change.


Over the last 19 months, in order to observe how the school board runs and behaves--and how the Trustees vote--I have attended 95% of the CUSD board meetings

Four of the trustees continue to vote in direct alignment with the CUSD administration; only trustee Gustafson votes independently, asking hard questions.

----------Recognizing Change---------
--A podium is now in place for the public to speak from
--An audio recording of the school board meetings is now posted on the CUSD website (and can be downloaded).
-- In January 2013, I went before the CUSD school board concerning an issue of integrity: even though Trustee Reusche stated in the 2012 Voters Guide that she was a credentialed teacher in the state of California, she does not, in fact, possess a California Teaching Credential. The truth of the issue was brought out by the Calaveras Enterprise: “CUSD board member feels harassed” (Nov. 22, 2013). Prior to the article, I received a cease and desist letter from trustee Reusche’s lawyer threatening to sue me if I continued to bring up the issue of the absence of her teaching credential.

Again, my concern is for the children, teachers, and support staff.

I want the children to be able to learn in a clean and safe environment. The first priority of CUSD school board should be to ensure that the school facilities are properly maintained.

--You are encouraged to tour your child’s campus.

--I continue to be highly concerned about the aged portable classrooms on CUSD campuses; some as old as 25 years (with original carpeting).

The cliff swallows that annually nest at JLE and TMS continue to be a major concern. A local pulmonary physician recently questioned some patients who have lung disorders, “Have you ever been around birds? Have you ever raised birds?” With this thought in mind, if your child is experiencing respiratory issues (asthma) it may be wise to have them checked by a physician who has experience or knowledge of the side effects of being exposed to birds (such as the cliff swallows that annually nest in the eaves at JLE and TMS).

I have stated that I am concerned about the district spending the remaining bond money on a Performing Arts Center when according to Superintendent Campbell, “The music program is a big ticket item that could be cut.” In that case why would CUSD need a performing arts center? If the district could afford it—and keep the programs alive at the same time--I would love to see a performing arts center. However, I am dedicated to the maintenance and safety of the CUSD facilities.

Another item that I have spoken out in support of is a Cafeteria for TMS. Currently the students must line up--outside--in all extremes of weather to purchase their breakfast or lunch. The district has been cited for 16 years for the current kitchen at TMS.
To change the current climate and culture of CUSD, there first has to be a change of leadership.
Three out of five votes and the superintendent can be replaced. In 2014 there are three school board seats up for election: Area 2—Evan Garamendi (Mokelumne Hill); Area 4—Zerral McDaniel (San Andreas); Area 5—Karan Bowsher (West Point & Rail Road Flat).

After the election, the new school board may have a whole different view on CUSD and its leadership. As you may or may not know, the trustee boundaries for CUSD have been redrawn and I am now located in area 3; Greg Gustafson is the current Trustee from this area.

According to the Calaveras Enterprise, 67% of our property taxes go to support/fund the local school district. Property taxes may rise, but only slightly (Dec. 24, 2013).
Again, I thank each and every one of you who supported me in the 2012 CUSD trustee race. I have diligently continued to keep my website Sacred School Grounds current and active with information pertaining to the CUSD educational community.

I continue to have supporting evidence for my statements and opinions. I still firmly believe that parents (and grandparents) are the best advocates for their children.

By experience, I have learned that there is no all-powerful agency that will protect and serve our children; Cal-OSHA protects school employees, not children.

Happy New Year and God Bless: I hope to see you at a future CUSD board meeting--Allen Lujan

Sacred School Grounds                                       C-(209) 765-3613

In a closing note: please feel free to pass on and share any (or all) information provided in this letter; please duplicate and distribute as needed. We thank you for all support and effort put forward in the education and protection of our CUSD school children.

Children are one third of our population, but all of our future.