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For Generations To Come: A Leadership Guide to Renewing Public School Buildings
This guide provides a framework for community involvement in the complex process of modernizing or building new public school buildings.
With No Help From State, Newmarket And Other Towns Grapple With Going Solo On School Construction
EMILY CORWIN, New Hampshire Public Radio
March 10, 2014
-- There’s a problem with the HVAC system at the Junior and Senior high school in Newmarket, and it’s making a high pitched squeal. This wing of the school was built in 1924, and Principal Christopher Andriski says the exposed pipes and vents make this screeching sound all the time. The noise, he says, is the system’s way of alerting the custodian. “He’s gotta manually push a button up there,” Andriski explains. At town meeting day on Tuesday, voters in 10 school districts from Keene to Salem and beyond will be deciding whether to go ahead with costly school construction projects, despite an ongoing moratorium on school building aid from the state. Nowhere has paying for school building costs grown more divisive than in the town of Newmarket.
Newmarket residents rally for new school
Scott E. Kinney, Seacoastonline.com
March 10, 2014
-- NEWMARKET — Hundreds gathered downtown Sunday for a walking rally to support the building of a new school in town.
Participants marched from the Newmarket's Public Library down Main Street and completed the walk at the current Newmarket Jr./Sr. High School, carrying signs with messages such as "Vote yes on 1" and "Don't kick the can down the road" while also shouting "Vote yes."
Ronan Cohen said Tuesday's vote is an important one for the town.
"It's a vote that will benefit the community for generations to come," he said.
The town is seeking to appropriate a bond for $45,125,263 to build a new 151,500-square-foot junior and senior high school. If approved, the bond would have an impact of $1.75 per $1,000 of assessed value on the town's tax rate for the 2014-2015 school year. By the end of the bond's fifth year, residents would be looking at an annual impact of $4.26 per $1,000 for the remaining 20 years of the 25-year bond.
The $45.1 million proposal cut 22,000 square feet from an earlier proposed $50.8 million new school that school officials ultimately abandoned, which included an auditorium. The new proposal would require students to cross Route 152 to use the gym at the current building.
Co-organizer Toni Weinstein said the walking rally was an opportunity to increase awareness of the upcoming vote, as well as a chance for the residents who have been backing a new school to gather one more time.
"Just to have this moment, whether we win or lose, this is incredible," she said. "This group of people has worked together on this over the last several months."
Alicia Buono, who also participated in the organizing of the event, said the rally was an opportunity to bring together a group of people passionate about bringing a new school to Newmarket.
Private schools would be required to have seismic evaluations under proposed law
Joshua Sabatini, sfexaminer.com
March 10, 2014
-- Following the passage of mandated seismic upgrades for soft-story buildings, San Francisco is focusing on requiring the safety measure for private schools.
Under legislation introduced by Mayor Ed Lee, private K-12 schools would have to undergo seismic evaluations of their facilities within three years.
A new report identified 113 private schools in operation in The City, comprising some 218 buildings including auditoriums and gymnasiums. As many as 124 private-school buildings would likely sustain significant damage in an earthquake, the report said. The facilities serve about 24,000 students, which represents one-third of San Francisco schoolchildren.
While 88 percent of public-school buildings would likely withstand an earthquake, only 43 percent of private school buildings, or 94, would fare the same, according to the report.
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The proposal was developed as a recommendation from The City’s Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety, a 10-year study assessing San Francisco’s earthquake risks and methods to mitigate the impacts of a major temblor. As part of that study, the Private Schools Earthquake Safety Working Group was assembled to focus on private schools and released a report in December.
“If the private schools perform especially poorly, they would add immediately and disproportionately to the emergency load on first responders,” the report said. “During the recovery period, damaged private schools that otherwise might serve as neighborhood‐supporting institutions, or even as emergency shelters, might be unable to fill those roles at a crucial time. Perhaps most significantly, if hundreds or thousands of private school students are unable to return to damaged facilities, the public schools (which will likely be hampered by their own damage) might be unable to cover the surge in demand.”
De Blasio predicts victory in co-location suit
Sally Goldenberg , CapitalNewYork.com
March 9, 2014
-- Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that he expects the city to prevail in a lawsuit filed by Public Advocate Letitia James, which would block charter school co-locations that were recently approved by his administration.
"We feel very good about the decision we made and the criteria we used, and if the public advocate wants to file a lawsuit that's her right, but we think our decision will stand in court," de Blasio told reporters, after promoting his universal pre-kindergarten plan at Heavenly Visions Church in the Bronx.
He said he has not seen the lawsuit filed by James, his successor as public advocate, who announced on Saturday night that she would proceed with the suit, after hosting a town-hall style forum to address the issue.
De Blasio recently approved 36 of 45 co-locations that were part of a flurry of co-location approvals at the end of the Bloomberg administration.
He allowed 14 of 17 charter school plans to move forward, with all three of the denials affecting Success Academy, which is run by the outspoken charter advocate Eva Moskowitz.
Moskowitz was recently joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo at a rally for charter schools in Albany, on the same day de Blasio visited the capital to push for a tax to fund universal pre-kindergarten programs.
De Blasio has been criticized by both sides of the charter-school debate: Cuomo and Moskowitz rallied before a crowd of several thousand, who criticized his decision to block the Success co-locations.
But some of de Blasio's allies on the left, including James and some members of the City Council, are upset over his decision to allow most of the charter school co-locations to move forward.
ROCHESTER SCHOOLS MODERNIZATION PROGRAM BUDGETS
Brian Sharp, DemocratandChronicle.com
March 9, 2014
-- A few years ago, when 15-year-old Unique Fair helped redesign the school he'd attended since he was a first-grader, he imagined walking out of its doors and into college and the future beyond.
But reality got in the way. Construction delays mean Fair and his School 58 classmates will begin senior year as they have every year of high school: in space at the Franklin high school building on Norton Street.
World of Inquiry, as School 58 is known, won't reopen on schedule this fall. It's the first casualty of a massive — and troubled, audits obtained by the Democrat and Chronicle show — effort to modernize Rochester's many aging school buildings. The internal performance audits and interviews with those involved describe a $1.3 billion multiphase project that is rushed and disjointed, rife with confusion and friction between the various entities tasked with its oversight.
City School District officials were indecisive and allowed anyone from key administrators down to school principals to seek changes to designs, the audits show. That, coupled with inaccuracies in the original building plans led to expensive add-ons: At School 58, a $41 million project that's the most expensive in Phase I, district officials demanded air conditioning after the project had gone out to bid. Then contractors discovered lead dust, an oil spill and steel so deficient the building could have collapsed.
Meanwhile, some accounts said key players such as program manager Gilbane Building Co. failed to provide the expertise promised, instead delegating tasks to others, at increased cost.
The firm hired to ensure compliance with minority contracting and hiring was faulted not just for lax oversight but, at times, a complete absence of it, calling into question its much-heralded successes.
The firm since has been replaced.
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