Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Fence Me In

This fence? It is on the playground the first-, second- and third-graders use at Youngest's school.

That damage? It was caused in February when a tree fell down during a storm.

This fencing? It surrounds the area where the perfectly fine play structure for those same elementary school students was before crews demolished it several weeks ago.

The new structure? That won't be done until at least the third week of school.

Our district? Is talking about closing consolidating schools at both the elementary and middle level. Decisions on which schools will be closed will be made in the coming months. In the meantime, I believe the district is demolishing the play structures at all of the elementary schools and replacing them. Eventually. 


Since the fence came down in February, I've asked and been told by the principal and other district workers that it would be fixed. "We've put work orders in for it," the principal told me at least twice. "We're waiting for the fencing contractor," district maintenance crews told me. All this last school year.

So this is what I sent to the principal yesterday:

I can see there are many preparations going on to get School up and running for the kids' return on Monday. I have watched over the summer as much work has been done, but I am disappointed to see that the District has still not repaired the fence that was damaged six months ago. We talked about it twice last school year, and I also spoke with District workers, asking what the hold up was. Seeing all the work being done to take down play structures which, in my opinion, could hardly be considered in disarray, and yet noting the damaged fence remains untouched puzzles me. I realize that it is at the District level that financial decisions are made regarding capital projects and the like. And I realize that it is also at the District level that fencing contractors are retained (likely from an entirely different set of funds).

I'm hopeful that you can shake the District up and get the fence repaired before school begins. It is dangerous in its current state for several reasons. First, portions of the fence are right at eye level for some of our taller students. Second, the fence is supposed to be a barrier between our property and the public property of the creek. Third, from a purely student-centered mindset, it's a danger to all of the balls played with at recesses.

I took some photos this morning of the fence. Perhaps sharing them with others is a way to get the fence repaired in time for school on Monday.

And this is what she sent back in response:

We have also talked to the District about it and it is the City’s responsibility to repair the fence. The District is also surprised that it hasn’t been taken care of. I will notify the District once again to see where we are in this process. Thank you for expressing your concerns. See you soon!

Six months later, and now it turns out it's the city and not the district?! I immediately contacted the city maintenance people, forwarding them the email trail, along with the photos.

And when I was done, I found out that the play structures won't be done at our school and who knows how many other schools before school starts on Monday.

So then? Then I reached out to some people I know in the media.

Now what? Probably nothing, but at least I tried.


Patois42 said...

A few people I know IRL read the blog. They never comment directly, but the friendlier ones contact me and chat about something they've read. This one hit a chord with one of them. The one whose husband is a lawyer. So now the lawyer is taking this on.

If you didn't think I was one of the unloved parents before, this should seal it.

Lori said...

Yes it should. Plus, I know how important fences have been in your I am not surprised about the energy you are putting into fixing this one! Good luck...

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

God, I wish you lived here. "OH YEAH?!? You better do it or I'll sick Patois on ya!"

Awesome. Simply awesome, hon!


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