200 students moved to temporary quarters

Unpleasant odors wafting into
the classrooms at Kyrene
Middle School last month
caused administrators to temporarily
relocate 200 sixth graders to
neighboring C.J. Waggoner
Elementary.
Though that “temporary” status at
first was expected to span only a matter
of days, officials now say the kids will
have to remain in their new quarters
until after the first of the year.
The origin of the smell turned out to
be cracked sewer pipes—a normally
routine maintenance job that quickly
gained priority status.
Both schools are on the same campus
at 1050 E. Carver Road, which allows
for a seamless transition between the
two facilities, said Nancy Dudenhoefer,
Community Relations Assistant
Manager for the Kyrene district.
“The principal of each one of the
schools is really pleased with the
solution to this unforeseen problem,”
Dudenhoefer said. “Even though (KMS)
students changed classrooms to
Waggoner, they can still eat in their
normal cafeteria and use their own
library.”
Limiting disruptions to classroom
instruction is a top priority of the
district, says Dudenhoefer, so it was
lucky that the schools are in proximity
to one another and classroom space
was available.
Although the problem was quickly
resolved by the two principals, it didn’t
escape the notice of school-district
administrators.
“In spite of our best laid plans,
maintenance issues can and do occur,”
said Jeremy Calles, chief financial
officer for the Kyrene district, whose
responsibilities include facility
maintenance over 2.6 million square
feet of instructional space.
“The current problem at Kyrene
Middle School is not a lack of routine
maintenance but of the daily wear and
tear at an aging facility.
“The larger issue, however, is how to
keep up with repairs at all 26 schools,
as our district faces a looming budget
deficit this year of $8.9 million. This is
in addition to cuts last year of nearly
$5.6 million in capital funds that were
to be used for school upkeep.”
Calles says that right now the district
is operating under a “run to failure”
repair policy, which means that
equipment is repaired or replaced
only as it becomes inoperable.
Budget issues are facing all Arizona
school districts, but the frustration is
greater in Kyrene where voters did
approve a $116 million bond sale in
2010.
Usually, school districts sell bonds to
help pay for maintenance of their
property. However, the recent drop in
the area’s property values prohibited
the Kyrene district from selling those
bonds. An appeal to the state legislature
to amend the law stalled last
spring.
“As a result, our capital budget
issues continue to snowball, and now
they’re impacting Kyrene’s operating
budget for maintenance,” explained
Calles.
“One way that Kyrene parents can
help the district is to contact legislators
and get involved in community groups
that are discussing educational issues
in Arizona.”
The Arizona State Legislature is
expected to introduce the bond
discussion again.
Parents and other concerned
residents in the Kyrene Corridor can
help to ensure the bill gains greater
support by writing letters, sending
emails or making phone calls.
Information on the Kyrene district
website includes a sample letter to use
and the contact information for
legislators. For more, log-on to
www.kyrene.org

Posted by on Dec 17 2012. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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