Another hot topic of discussion was air conditioning. The original plan the board discussed was adding air conditioning to main assembly spaces at the Hewitt, Riverside, Watson, Wilson and middle schools. That would have cost the district approximately $1.46 million (or over $2 million if both gyms and the middle school cafeteria were included). According to the estimates from BBS, it would cost the district $1.2 million to air-condition all 160 classrooms and the 40 other instructional spaces it has.
“I strongly, strongly support air conditioning in every single classroom in this school district, not just at Covert,” said that school’s principal, Darren Raymar, pointing out that the Covert School is fortunate enough to already have air conditioning in its auditorium and gym. “It doesn’t matter how great of a teacher you are or how great of a student you are. When it’s 90 degrees and you’re hot, you’re not paying attention and you cannot be on your game.”
At the end of the discussion, the trustees appeared to favor air-conditioning all of the classrooms. It was unclear, however, which, if any, of the large assembly spaces would be air-conditioned. The board will decide by the final bond meeting on Jan. 22.
A third major issue was the possible purchase of a house adjacent to the high school’s administration building. The home would be used by the special education program and could serve a variety of functions.
“In a time when we’re looking at investing in our district with this bond, we’re also looking at something that would really enhance our programs: expand the current special education programs and/or create new ones,” said Noreen Leahy, the assistant superintendent of special education and pupil services. “Most of the ideas … center around the regulations and the trends that have changed in special education in recent years. Specifically, in the last few years, the regulations around transition, which means the formation of plans and preparedness of students for life after secondary education. And for students with disabilities — particularly students with more profound disabilities — sometimes that means outside-the-box solutions.”