Thursday, August 28, 2014

Understanding the CUSD Budget Crisis

Reporter Mike Taylor of the Calaveras Enterprise reported today (June 27, 2014) in CUSD Budget in Dire Straits

“CUSD’s budget has been classified as “qualified” for the past three quarters, a condition that in school parlance means that a district cannot demonstrate it can pay its bills in what are referred to as “out years,” the two years beyond the current budget year. “




 WHAT DO THESE TERMS MEAN?

POSITIVE: The district is projected to be able to meet its financial obligations all three years.

QUALIFIED: It is projected that the district may not meet its financial obligations in one of the three years.

NEGATIVE: It is projected that district will not be able to meet its financial obligations in the current or next fiscal year.


To better understand the budget certification process—Qualified vs. Negative—view the CSBA article: Understanding Qualified & Negative Certification and the Role of the County Office of Education--pg 6 

Distrust and Unrest Created by 2 CUSD Admin Wage Increases

On June 24, 2014, two CUSD administrators (Director of Personnel Liz Stanko and Director of Fiscal Services Titia Ashby) were each approved wage increases of $16K a year.           

  • Director of Personnel moved from $74K to $90K--a $16K annual increase
  • Director of Fiscal Services moved from $74K to $90K--a $16K annual increase
  • Together the 2 administrative wage increases total $32K.

1. These wage increases show favoritism to administration. On July 22, 2014 due to financial uncertainty and distress, the Union for the Calaveras Unified support staff--CSEA--was denied a negotiated wage increase by the CUSD Board of Trustees.
2. These wage increases create a wedge of distrust and unrest between the CUSD administration and the district's support staff (CSEA).
3. These wage increases were not fully and completely explained during the June 24th meeting and gives the appearance of manipulation and deceit.
4. These wage increases appear to cause (or add to) the district's current and ongoing financial distress.
5. These wage increases make it harder for the public to fully believe in the district's ongoing claim of transparency.

Maintenance Logs (for classrooms, not fish tanks)

-First Posted April 2012-

* If Fish Tanks were Classrooms ....
* a number of aged portable classrooms at JLE date back to 1988
(still with original carpeting ... and no on-going record of maintenance or HVAC service)


which tank



...would you want your child to spend their school day in?

---------------------//---------------------

Don't wait until the water is cloudy and murky.
Don't wait for the fish to be lethargic and slow. 





Fish (like school children) are healthier and happier (and learn better) when their tanks--classrooms--are repaired, maintained, and serviced on a regular basis.


There is obviously a lot of responsibility that comes with having a fish tank (or a school district)--(precious lives--schools of little fish--depend on and trust in you--the tank owner to make wise and healthy choices concerning maintenance, repair, and on-going HVAC service)
------------------//------------------

To request--and inspect--Maintenance logs (for classrooms, not fish tanks)  contact:

CUSD District Office:
P.O. Box 788,  3304 Hiway 12 #B,
 San Andreas, Ca. 95249          (209) 754-2300       www.calaveras.k12.ca.us/


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Final Cut: People or Programs?


It may be that the "final cut" will pit people (employees/unions) versus programs (Sports and Music).*








With Sports and Music recently removed from the list ... there was a quick realization that the only thing (or item) that could adequately match the dollar amount (as a replacement) on the Fiscal Recovery Plan List would be PEOPLE: teachers (certificated employees) and support staff (classified employees).

------------------------------------
*The closure or consolidation of Upcountry schools also plays a major part in the CUSD Fiscal Recovery Plan, however, to the surprise of many, the Upcountry communities have not been as vocal or visible at the last three CUSD board meetings; their bargaining or negotiating power has not been as prevalent (publicly) as that of Sports and Music.

The historic Calaveras communities have every right to a dignified and "local" education and should not be set aside as an unworthy (or less valuable) cut-list item.

Fiscal Recovery Plan

Trust Begins with Transparency

Transparency is a characteristic of governments, companies, organizations and individuals that are open in the clear disclosure of information, rules, plans, processes and actions.

As a principle (or overriding concept of thought order, and operation) public officials, civil servants, managers and directors of companies and organizations and board trustees have a duty to act visibly, predictably and understandably to promote participation and accountability.


Simply making information available is not sufficient to achieve transparency. Large amounts of raw information in the public domain may breed opacity rather than transparency.
Information should be managed and published so that it is:
  • Relevant and accessible: Information should be presented in plain and readily comprehensible language and formats appropriate for different stakeholders. It should retain the detail and disaggregation necessary for analysis, evaluation and participation. Information should be made available in ways appropriate to different audiences.
  • Timely and accurate: Information should be made available in sufficient time to permit analysis, evaluation and engagement by relevant stakeholders. This means that information needs to be provided while planning as well as during and after the implementation of policies and programmes. Information should be managed so that it is up-to-date, accurate, and complete.
http://www.transparency-initiative.org/about/definitions

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is it Safe to Say that Nothing is Written in Stone?

The CUSD Fiscal Recovery Plan: 
a "Fluid Document"... or  "Written in Stone?"

Is the CUSD FISCAL RECOVERY PLAN a fluid document where items can be easily added or subtracted as need, emotion, or occasion arise? 








Sports, Music Programs Escape District Ax
By Elizabeth Roberts
Record Staff Writer 
Posted Aug. 24, 2014

"Even then, those cuts aren’t written in stone, Campbell said. The budget process will be in flux over the next several months and the overall economic picture could change in either direction, he said, possibly even dramatically enough to where the dire cuts on the list will never see the light of day." --Elizabeth Roberts, Record Staff Writer Aug. 24, 2014

Or is it a list (Recovery Plan) where items, once applied, are locked-in (set in stone) due to unforeseen circumstances that the district managers could not foresee and have no control over? 

"My fear is that those little schools are going to be on the cut list, football, sports, are going to be on that cut list, and we’re going to put our faith in you, and they’re not going to come back. … It’s been my opinion that unfortunately it does become stone.”  --Elizabeth Roberts, Record Staff Writer Aug. 24, 2014


Many community members have lost faith in the district's ability to keep its promises:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Request for Adequate Accommodations

We the people (parents, teachers, tax-paying citizens) 
of the Calaveras Educational Community,  
request fair and adequate accommodations 
at the next CUSD School Board Meeting 
(Saturday--Aug. 23, 2014)

-----------------------------------------------------------


Large enough room to accommodate all concerned parties in attendance


Accessible Podium (with microphone)


    PA system so all discussions can be heard and adequately communicated


    • Printed handouts for all those in attendance


    • Meeting held to the proper format and protocol of Robert's Rules of Order



    As a show of leadership and transparency it is requested that the Superintendent and Board President sit apart from each other;

    The board President should run the meeting independent of the Superintendent's direction.

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    Agenda for Saturday's CUSD Study Session: "Reduce the Budget by $2 million in two Phases"

    Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees 

    10:30 A.M. – STUDY SESSION

    Saturday, August 23, 2014 
    Calaveras Unified District Office 

    IMC Training Room 
    3304 Highway 12 
    San Andreas, CA 95249 





    Link to Agenda

    c. Fiscal Recovery Plan 

    Resolution 2014/15-03, to Adopt a Fiscal Recovery Plan (pp 12-13) 
    It is recommended the Board Adopt Resolution 2014/15-03 approving a Fiscal Recovery Plan for Calaveras Unified School District whereby the Board will take action to reduce the budget by $2 million in two phases. 


    "UGLY LIST" Makes the Record

    VALLEY SPRINGS — "The Calaveras Unified School District, grappling with a financial crisis after years of spending down reserves, is considering an “ugly list” of cuts that includes shuttering schools and eliminating popular music and sports programs to avoid the possibility of having the county office of education or state take over."




    'Ugly list' of $2.8M in cuts: 
    Music, sports programs on chopping block
    By Elizabeth Roberts/Record Staff Writer 
    Posted Aug. 21, 2014 @ 11:00 pm


    "The district needs to trim $2.8 million from the budget over the next two years and is looking at a two-phase plan that could either consolidate its three up-country elementary schools into one or close Toyon Middle School altogether, said district Superintendent Mark Campbell. Any cuts will not affect the current school year. The district has an annual budget of $28 million."

    What Parents (of School Children) Should Know About Cliff Swallows

    Typical Cliff Swallow Nests
        First Posted April 2013
    Over the years, Cliff Swallows have traditionally nested at Jenny Lind Elementary School and Toyon Middle School. The Cliff Swallow seasonal migration pattern is outlined below.

    Cliff swallows spend the winter months in South America. In late winter and early spring, they begin a northward migration through Central America and Mexico. Arrival dates can vary greatly because of weather conditions. 

    The first migrants usually appear in southern California by late February or early March. Two or three weeks later cliff swallows begin arriving in northern California.

    Cliff swallows migrate during the day and catch flying insects en route. Swallows will not penetrate regions unless flying insects are available for food, which usually occurs after a few days of relatively warm weather (70°F or more).

    What Parents (of School Children)
     Should Know About Cliff Swallows

    According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources website: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7482.html
    Swallows, particularly cliff swallows, Hirundo pyrrhonota, often live in close proximity to people. While enjoyable to watch, cliff swallows nesting in colonies on buildings and other structures can become a nuisance. Their droppings can foul machinery, create aesthetic problems, and cause potential health hazards by contaminating foodstuffs. Their mud nests eventually fall to the ground and can cause similar problems. In addition, swallow nests frequently contain mites and insects such as swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius); swallow bugs are related to bed bugs and will bite humans, although humans are not their usual host.

    According to the website: United Wildlife Control http://www.unitedwildlife.com/AnimalsSwallows.html#k
    Mud, cliff and barn swallows do carry diseases: including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, cryptococcus, and toxoplasmosis. These swallow illnesses are spread by contact with swallow poop, nest materials and dead swallows.

    Histoplasmosis is a fungus disease contracted through airborne spores in swallow droppings. If swallows have been on your roof for a while, these spores can even infect the soil you garden in down below. Its symptoms may be anything from a mild influenza to blood abnormalities and fever, or even death. An eye condition has been linked to histoplasmosis and it can lead to blindness in those who contract it.

    Toxoplasmosis is an infection that invades human tissue and can severely damage the central nervous system, especially in babies. Pregnant women are in extreme danger if infected with toxoplasmosis.

    Swallows carry the bacteria salmonella. People who pick up salmonella bacteria can become seriously ill with diarrhea, vomiting, fever and chills. Salmonella can also affect the blood. Swallow salmonella can be spread through swallow fecal matter.

    Encephalitis can lead to fever, headache, vomiting and eventually coma, seizures and paralysis. Encephalitis is brain inflammation caused by a virus.

    Cryptococcosis, one of the commonly carried swallow diseases, infects the lungs of humans. It is transmitted by inhaling the yeast-like cells of the organism. Cryptococcosis can also cause acne-like ulcers on the skin.



    Resources and Management Options


    Cliff Swallow Management—UC Davis
    Health and Safety Hazard
    Mites
    Permits
    Netting
    Nesting Period

    Netting
    $700.00
    Health Hazard

    Caltrans
    Bridge
    Netting Used

    Management Ideas
    Drawings
    Habitat


    Cliff Swallow
    Management
    Diseases (types)


    Sierra, Foothill Cliff Swallows

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Should CUSD Trustees Refuse Their Benefits?


    Calaveras Enterprise
    Opinion Page, Aug. 1, 2014
    By Kyle Harvey, 

    CSEA Representative
    Link: Trustees Should Refuse Benefits





    "Trustees Should Refuse Benefits"

    As reported in this paper last Friday, the board of trustees of Calaveras Unified School District rejected a tentative agreement California School Employees Association – CSEA – and the district reached in May 2014 that provided classified employees (bus drivers, maintenance, instructional aides, food service workers) a modest pay and benefit increase. The certificated unit had already completed its negotiations with a similar package approved by the board in May 2014. Knowing that the district had been in a “qualified status” regarding its financial ability to pay its debts in out years, we were told the district could afford this increase, but it would be tight.
    The end of June we were told the district would not recommend the board ratify our agreement because of unforeseen increases to special education costs and a miscalculation regarding class size reduction funds the district would receive. The narrative from the district and county office then turned to an ongoing problem with a “structural deficit” regarding the ability of the district to continue to operate status quo.
    We question why the district would agree in May 2014 to adding an ongoing $1 million increase to ongoing costs for certificated when it knew of this structural deficit. Why would the district consider any ongoing increased cost at all?
    The citizens in this district will now question the board‘s resolve to cut spending. They have had six years to tackle this problem. CSEA has asked each board member to set the example and show leadership by rejecting their district-provided health benefit compensation, which has cost the district $236,961 over the last three years. These funds can be used to help fund the structural deficit. In addition, CSEA has asked the board to justify why a trustee receives up to $19,000 for their benefit package when hard working classified employees, who are required by law to pay for their employer-contracted health insurance, receive only $7,680 per year in health benefit compensation. This information makes us wonder where trustees’ priorities have been over the last six years: providing a financially sustainable operation, or the trustees’ own financial well-being.
    Kyle Harvey

    CSEA representative
    ----------------------------------//---------------------------------------

    --Actual Health & Welfare Expenditures for Past three (3) Years--


    Current Costs Attributed to Board Member Health Care Benefits 

    (Including Management, Certificated, & Classified)


    ---------------------------//------------------------------
    Here is a handout outlining the Benefit Packages offered CUSD Trustees
    "Employee Cost" is actually "Trustee Cost" on this form.


    -------------------------//-----------------------------
    Footnote: 

    1. Why do the benefit amounts vary so greatly?

    2. The public (and most CUSD employees) assumed or thought the Trustees received the same dollar amount for their compensation (board participation); not varied amounts weighed out through Healthcare benefit packages.
    -----------------------//---------------------------

    I have asked for the evidence--a document (or even a board agenda or meeting notes) to show how these current benefits (and the varied amounts) have come into existence. Not a date or a document or a past agenda has ever been provided. The financial arrangements were made outside the knowledge and view of the public's eye.

    The Trustee benefit amounts should be the same; however, there is NO board policy on the amount or when the package can be upgraded (or down graded) as the economy fluctuates. This type of policy when dealing with public funds (a lack of policy and deals made without community input) is unlawful and lacks transparency.

    A Reprieve! "Ugly List" Vote Pushed Back til Sat. 23rd

    A Reprieve has Been Granted


    There will be a Board Study Session
     on Saturday, August 23, 
    beginning at 10:30 a.m. 
    at the CUSD 
    Administrative Offices, 
    IMC Training Room


    • Board Voted (3-2) to hire a $130 hr. Fiscal Advisor
    • To postpone the Ugly List vote til Sat.
    • To brainstorm/gather ideas to increase revenue
    • To leave the 2 recent Administrative wage increases (totaling $32K) in place.
    • To leave the Board health benefits in Place
    • Superintendent wanted vote taken NOW! He did not want to postpone the CUT list any longer
    • Board desired time to gather more information


    The Pen, the Sword, and the Keystroke


    Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton (1803–1873)





    *_*_*_*_*_

    The Founding Fathers of the United States of America considered the pen to be mightier than the sword, and therefore were able to gain the freedom of America by uniting the colonists.

    Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Thomas Paine in 1796, in which he wrote: "Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword."

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Board President Must Operate Independent of the Superintendent's Direction


    We the people (parents, teachers, tax-paying citizens) of the Calaveras Educational Community, request fair and adequate Representation and Mediation at the next CUSD School Board Meeting: 



    (Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 5:30 PM) 
    Toyon Middle School (MPR)





    We request the meeting follow the proper format and protocol of Robert's Rules of Order


    As a show of leadership and transparency it is requested that the Superintendent and Board President sit apart from each other;

    The board President should run the meeting independent of the Superintendent's direction.

    Preferred Parking of Calaveras Unified Superintendent

    First Posted August 2013
    The CUSD Superintendent was on Campus
    for the Calaveras High School Back to School Night 
    NO PARKING
    1. Student Loading Zone
    2. Fire Lane
    Fire Lane (Red)  . . . Loading Zone (Yellow)
    Clearly spelled out beneath the Superintendent's parked vehicle:
    Fire Lane

    Always remember: Educational leaders--leaders of youth-- 
     you are role models at all times. When in the presence of the educational community which they serve, leaders must strive to make informed, moral, ethical, and responsible decisions. 
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    CUSD Mission Statement
    We further affirm that the purposes of education are to:
    1. Encourage personal excellence for all students and staff.
    2. Achieve high academic standards in a safe school environment.
    3. Make informed, moral, ethical, and responsible decisions.


                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    [Fire] Vehicle CODE: 22500.1. In addition to Section 22500, no person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device along the edge of any highway, at any curb, or in any location in a publicly or privately owned or operated off-street parking facility, designated as a fire lane by the fire department or fire district with jurisdiction over the area in which the place is located.

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Next CUSD Board Meeting, Tues, Aug. 19th (5:30 PM) Toyon Middle School MPR

     CUSD trustees meet again Aug.19 and 23 
    (Special Session on Sat. 8/23). 


    The upcoming meetings will provide Board Members and the public the opportunity to discuss (and prioritize) district-proposed budget cut items: 

    Sports, Music/Band, Closure/Consolidation of upcountry schools.




    And Local Education


    The CUSD 2015-2016 fiscal plan must be in place by Sept. 2, the date which the "reduction plan" must be submitted to the Calaveras County Office of Education for approval.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Link to Aug. 19 Board Meeting Agenda

    Link to Current Reduction/Ugly List proposed by CUSD

    Change the Trustees; Replace the Superintendent

    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. 

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Disgruntled Employee?

    FIRST POSTED OCT. 2012

    The question could easily be asked if my wife is a disgruntled employee of Calaveras Unified School District? The answer would easily be, “yes.” Wouldn’t you be? How could you not be when you have lost both your health and livelihood at the hands of the school district that you were dedicated to? But, what can be gained by being bitter and angry? The better question or emotion is what can be learned from all that has happened. Can something good come from this tragic outcome? Is there a higher ground and a clearer perspective that can save others (especially children) from suffering the possible same consequences? We believe my wife's medical emergency (while in her classroom at Jenny Lind Elementary) happened for a very specific reason--to raise the distress flag, to give warning of the risks that a school district will take when it has limited or no funding. I believe the lack of (or improper use of) funds is now putting our best and brightest in perilous risk.
           The risk is seen in CUSD's inadequate maintenance practices. I raise the issue concerning classrooms, buildings, and air quality; but it also begs one to consider maintenance practices in other areas, such as transportation (primarily bus safety) and kitchen facilities. A cafeteria/kitchen facility is needed at Toyon Middle School (so students will no longer have to wait in line in the rain to get their food).
                Day by day the bitterness and anger will go away; I am not so sure about the current conditions and risks. I believe it is up to us as a community. The time is now.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    WANTED: Honest, Humble, Professional Leader for Calaveras Unified



    I know she would likely decline ...






    but I would like to see Lisa McInturf (or that type of Educational leader) as CUSD Superintendent.

    She is a humble--yet professional-- administrator. 

    As a parent, I have sat in face to face meetings with her; 
    I have never doubted her integrity. 


    Ms. McInturf recently took a voluntary reduction in pay when she moved back to CHS as a VP. 

    Ms. McInturf understands the current issues and works extremely well with parents, teachers, support staff, administration, and the CUSD Trustees.





    She always takes a professional "pause" before speaking and has consistently kept the best interest of the students at the forefront. 

    --------------------//---------------------



    Risky & Controversial: Capital Appreciation Bonds

    Risky & Controversial 
    Capital Appreciation Bonds

    Calaveras Unified School District is noted in spreadsheet below as having financed 
    Capital Appreciation Bonds in 2007 & 2008
    SPREADSHEET: Capital appreciation bonds
    Hun­dreds of Cali­for­nia school and com­munity col­lege dis­tricts have fin­anced con­struc­tion pro­jects with cap­it­al ap­pre­ci­ation bonds that push re­pay­ment far in­to the fu­ture and ul­ti­mately cost many times what the dis­trict bor­rowed. Gov­ern­ment fin­ance ex­perts con­sider bonds im­prudent if the total cost is more than four times the money bor­rowed or the ma­tur­ity peri­od is great­er than 25 years.  Published: Nov. 28, 2012
    RELATED ITEMS: California school districts face huge debt on risky bonds

    California schools asked to put moratorium on controversial bonds
    State's treasurer and schools chief ask districts to avoid capital appreciation bonds until governor and lawmakers can weigh proposals to restrict their use.
    January 18,  2013|By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times


    Risky bonds tie schools to huge debt
    About 200 districts in California may have to pay as much as 10 to 20 times the amount borrowed.
    November 29, 2012|Dan Weikel


    Long-term payment bonds dig big hole for schools
    Thursday, January 31, 2013
    KGO TV San Francisco CA


    CAPITAL APPRECIATION BONDS: THE CREATION OF A
    TOXIC WASTE DUMP IN OUR SCHOOLS (2012)


                                           

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    Unforeseen Costs for CUSD Performing Arts Center?

    "The department requires school agencies planning to build on places with naturally occurring asbestos to have detailed plans for making sure students don't come into contact with the substance."


    "The EPA says it worries more about exposure of children to asbestos because they will live long enough to feel the effects, since asbestos-related diseases often take 30 years or more to develop."
    Future School Site Raises Asbestos Fears
    Dana M. Nichols, Record Staff Writer, May 11, 2007 12:00 A

    • On Tuesday Aug. 6, 2013 the CUSD School Board voted in favor of moving ahead with the proposed design and construction of a Performing Arts Center. 
    • The bond monies allotted for the PAC are $3.75 to 4.1 million. 
    •  It has been discussed and explained at recent school board meetings that there is no room for unforeseen costs: $750,000 for design (and state approval) and $3 million in construction costs.
    •  In otherwords, it appears the only alternative (if met with cost overruns) would be for CUSD to take  money (to cover the overruns) from it's general fund--or take out a loan. Taking from the general fund would no doubt impact students, teachers, and class sizes.
    • The site designated for construction of the CUSD Performing Arts Center is located in the parking lot across from the entrance to the Calaveras High School sports field and stadium.

      Calaveras High School Parking Lot
      Proposed Site for CUSD Performing Arts Center
      CHS parking lot and remaining concrete slabs
    • A CUSD warehouse facility once occupied this area. The aged facility has been dismantled/removed; concrete slabs now mark the area and are used for parking.
    • At the board meeting Tuesday Aug. 6 Trustee Gustafson voiced concerns about the unforeseen costs that could occur from breaking ground at this CHS site. 
    • A WARNING sign is currently posted next to the CHS stadium and near the entrance to Calaveras High School.
    • The bright yellow sign warns against Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock:
    1 of 2 WARNING  Signs posted at Calaveras High School
    • The proposed building site for the CUSD Performing Arts Center is located in the same general area (on the Calaveras High School campus) as the yellow "ASBESTOS CONTAINING SERPENTINE ROCK" warning sign; perhaps 50-70 yards separates the warning sign from the proposed building site. 
    • NOA (Natural Occurring Asbestos) is not new to this area. In 2007 Calaveras County Office of Education had to make major adjustments (and serious precautions) when Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock was discovered at the construction site of Mountain Oaks School:
    "As soon as next week, construction crews will be stripping a half-foot or so of asbestos-laden topsoil from a future school site here."

    "Before the new joint campus of Mountain Oaks Charter School and Mountain Ranch Community School rises next to Pool Station Road, the native soil will be covered by a tough fabric and that fabric covered with 10,000 cubic yards of clean, imported soil."

    "The EPA says it worries more about exposure of children to asbestos because they will live long enough to feel the effects, since asbestos-related diseases often take 30 years or more to develop."

    "In the case of the San Andreas school site, the problem is serpentine, the state rock. Veins of the greenish rock are present in a number of places in Calaveras County, including a Highway 49 cut north of San Andreas. Serpentine often contains asbestos. Asbestos is a term that refers to several different kinds of mineral fibers that are flexible and can break apart to become microscopic dust."

    "When inhaled, asbestos can cause scarring deep in the lungs and eventually cancer or other diseases. The American Lung Association and federal authorities say there is no safe level of exposure for inhaled asbestos."

    "The department requires school agencies planning to build on places with naturally occurring asbestos to have detailed plans for making sure students don't come into contact with the substance."

    "In the case of the $10.5 million campus being built here by the Calaveras County Office of Education, the plan includes spraying water during construction to keep down dust, monitoring air and dust at the site, and even cleaning the tires of trucks as they leave so they won't track asbestos dust onto area highways."

    "The plan estimates that it will take 20 truckloads per day over five weeks to deliver enough clean soil to cover the school's ball fields and playgrounds."

    "Claudia Davis, assistant superintendent for business services for the Calaveras County Office of Education, said naturally occurring asbestos is a fact of life in many parts of Calaveras County. She said her office first detected the asbestos during a visit to the site about a year ago."

    "Davis said she doesn't know how much of the $10.5 million total construction cost can be attributed to the asbestos removal and control measures because it was included in the larger construction bid."

    *_*_*_*_*_*_*_

    Because there is already a noted concern and strong warning signs posted on the CHS campus (pertaining to Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock), the questions below  must be raised:
    • Did CUSD leave enough room in their very narrow Performing Arts Center budget for unforeseen costs like the management of a work site that is found to contain Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock? The cost to manage such a work site can not be minimal; a cost of this nature (not budgeted or factored for) can quite feasible bring a construction project to a halt.
    • The Calaveras County Office of Education had a bid of $10.5 million for the construction of Mountain Oaks School; this price (or bid) appears to have included the management of the Serpentine rock, which they knew about (and budgeted for) prior to construction.
    • Has CUSD tested the soil/ground at the proposed PAC construction site for Serpentine Rock?
    • It was proposed at the Aug. 6 School Board meeting (by the Superintendent) that a Project Manager was not likely to be needed: previous Project Managers had not met their expectations or lacked skillful oversight. Is it prudent or wise to not have a manager with a project of this size and the possible complications of unforeseen issues like Serpentine Rock?
    • There are already 2 signs posted on the CHS campus (near the proposed construction site) warning of Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock. 
    • One has to assume that great care and diligence will be taken to test the area--prior to any construction or movement of soil or concrete.
    • Has CUSD contacted Calaveras County Environmental Management Agency concerning the proposed PAC construction site and the possible impact of Serpentine Rock?
    I am not an expert on enviromental health issues (and don't pretend to be). I am, however, a concerned (taxpaying) citizen, a Special Education teacher, and parent of a Calaveras High School sophmore. 

    Resource:

    Future School Site Raises Asbestos Fears
    Campus latest chapter in ongoing struggle to control exposure to potentially harmful mineral

    Record Staff Writer
    May 11, 2007 12:00 AM
    Dana M. Nichols at (209) 754-9534
    dnichols@recordnet.com