By Mary-Justine Lanyon
On the heels of the community forum she held, Dr. Kimberly Fricker, the superintendent of schools, briefed the trustees on the school district’s actions during the winter storms.
“We need to look at the aftermath and what we’d like to do differently,” Dr. Fricker said. “We want to hear from students, parents and community members on their experiences.
“Our community is our greatest priority,” she told the trustees.
The library at Rim High (pictured) served as barracks for SoCal Gas employees. The gym at Rim High was a Red Cross evacuation shelter. The parking lots at the school sites were used for supply deliveries and staging of large equipment. Food distributions took place at the majority of the school sites.
“We missed 21 days of school,” the superintendent said. “We have trained staff on socio-emotional support of our students. Our libraries have been designated socio-emotional safe places.”
Dr. Fricker added they know that learning loss will be an issue. “We have an intervention plan.” She added they made sure “we advocated for the needs of our students and the community.”
Since the question had been raised about why Rim didn’t transition to distance learning, Dr. Fricker said that cannot happen without a governor-initiated waiver. “In a state of emergency, it behooves us to have that ability,” she said.
The administrative team made the decision not to add days to the school year and to keep the graduation dates for Mountain High and Rim High as already set (June 6 and 7). The county approved the snow day waiver request; it is now in the hands of the governor. Should that be denied, Rim would have to add days but the graduations would still take place as scheduled.
Trustee Cindy Gardner suggested they meet with Senator Ochoa Bogh about the transition to virtual learning. “We should explain the situation,” she said. “We need to have a conversation about what the triggers would be.”
“You have charged us with preparing the documentation,” Dr. Fricker told the trustees, “and to advise the board on what it would take to put a bond measure on the ballot.
“How do we tell our story?”
The leadership team, Dr. Fricker said, met with the consultant who had been approved to create a feasibility study. They have put together an initial survey to get a picture of the voter demographic – are people in favor of the bond, not in favor – where do they stand?
The consultant, said Chief Business Official Jenny Haberlin, went back to a prior survey to see how they tested.
“We want to get the survey done so we can decide go, no-go,” said Gardner.
“I like that we’re getting a jump on it,” said Trustee Jordan Zarate. And President Bill Mellinger reminded the board that “we have a community of folks on fixed incomes. We have to remember them as we put together our numbers.”
SCHOOL SITE ROOF CONDITIONS
Haberlin pointed to the district’s aging facilities and told the trustees that “the school district has more need than a bond can fill.
“All of the school sites need roofs replaced,” she said. There were some “band-aids” planned prior to the snowstorms; those are in the works of being rescheduled.
There are no funds available for roofs in the general fund, Haberlin said. Rim is limited to a certain amount of modernization funds from the state every 20 years. The Office of School Construction has some hardship funds available but, Haberlin noted, “a building would have to collapse” to be eligible. There is no disaster relief available.
What are the costs? Rim High would be up to $2.1 million; MPH, $1 million plus; Mountain High, $200,000+, Charles Hoffman, $600,000+, Lake Arrowhead, $600,000+; Valley of Enchantment, $600,000+. A 10-year certification would add $500,000 to the total cost, bringing that to nearly $5 million.
Haberlin said there are parties interested in the vacant land by VOE Elementary School the district has for sale. They will also be listing the vacant building formerly housing Grandview Elementary School.