Originally Published: November 15, 2000 7:15 p.m.
PRESCOTT – The state School Facilities Board has approved $475,000 from its critical deficiency corrections fund to repair and re-roof the Vocational Building at Prescott High School.
Prescott Unified School District Super-intendent Roger Short told Governing Board members meeting Tuesday night that the money will pay for "remediation and repair" of the building.
The district must get competitive bids on the work, which will cover laboratory testing, mold remediation, metal roof replacement, insulation, evaporative cooler relocation from roof to building sides and improvement of current air handlers. Short hopes to have all students back in the renovated building in February or March.
In October, the school found stachybotrys – a fungus that in highly concentrated form can cause respiratory ailments – in the building's walls and ceilings. As a precaution, Principal Tim Carter closed off two-thirds of the building and relocated several classes elsewhere on campus while abatement occurred.
Since then, a hazard control company has removed and replaced affected material, and air tests have come back clean. Replacing the leaky metal roof and skylights will halt the wet conditions that feed the fungus, Carter said.
There have been no reports of respiratory ailments from teachers or students who used the Vocational Building. Prescott district officials praised the state board and its employees for their quick response to the emergency.
During its voting session, the board approved a co-ed interscholastic swim team for Prescott High School within the 4A Conference. Competition will begin in fall 2001. The vote was 4-0, with Member Dana Womack absent.
Earlier, Carter reported that local businessman Lou Silverstein donated $10,000 to establish the program. The school's site council, Student Advisory Committee, department chairs and the Prescott High School's PTSA support it.
Swimmers will train at the Prescott YMCA. Budget for the first two years would be about $8,800. As in other extracurricular sports at the school, students would pay a $98 fee to participate. The school would absorb program costs beginning in the third year.
Parent Karen Campbell told the board that the district's sexuality education program, which she generally supports, is valuable only as long as teachers adhere to the curriculum. She maintained that one instructor veered from it, giving inappropriate, in-depth answers to sixth-grade boys' questions last spring at Granite Mountain Middle School. Because of that, and the fact that she prefers to teach her own children about such matters at home, she intends to withhold permission for them to attend sexuality classes.
Campbell urged the board to come up with an option other than the sole, current one, which requires students to write a seven-page research paper in the library in lieu of the sexuality classes.
"No child wants to write a report," she said. "That's not really an option."
All four board members present expressed support for the award-winning program.
Board President Vaughn Delp acknowledged that a teacher had "made an unfortunate mistake." She pointed out that the Health Education Advisory Committee, comprising parents, clergy and other community members, recommended several revisions. One of them sets forth written guidelines for handling student questions.
The board unanimously approved all sexuality education curriculum revisions for the 7th and 11th grades, as well as grades 5 through 12. Instructor Marylin Bunger invited Campbell to become a committee member and work toward another option for children not taking sexuality classes. After the meeting, Campbell said she's considering doing so and is satisfied with the board's vote.