A few months ago (at the September 24 New Berlin School Board Meeting), NBPS Administration presented a slew of facility projects, which it described as “dire” facility needs, “important” and “immediate” ---but which had not been budgeted for.
For example: Asphalt at Orchard Lane Elementary (drive, playground areas).
Bob Pulliam, Director of Buildings and Grounds argued that the asphalt was “shot” and described it as a “big problem”. According to Pulliam, the asphalt that was currently in use had never been sealed. Pulliam also said that better drainage was needed.
We are talking pavement upheavals, gigantic holes, loose stones, standing water problems. Obviously, not a good situation to have at an elementary school, especially one that has so many special needs students.
When Board President Keith Heun questioned why it was a safety issue, Joan Paque ( Director of Student Services & formerly Orchard Lane Principal), explained that some of the kids were in wheelchairs --and they’ve had some students catch and flip over because of the asphalt “conditions”!!!
She reported that at least one student had been injured because of the drop in pavement, and students were tripping and falling, especially when playing basketball!!!
And per Orchard Lane Principal Cory Whitsell: students exit through that zone and were “catching stones” on their shoes and tripping. He warned that stones on kid’s shoes were also being dragged into the school building, another identified safety hazard.
At the Oct. 8 Board Meeting, a few facility renovation projects were discussed. Orchard Lane asphalt replacement was again presented as an urgent safety matter--with Administration arguing that the project could be done before snowfall, possibly during teacher’s convention. Administration pointed out that there was no line item in the budget for asphalts and roofs and that the Board would have to decide how it would fund those projects.
New Berlin School Board Member Susan Manley accused the School Board of poor planning and not doing its job properly. That's a valid observation.
After all, the so-called “fiscally conservative” School Board/District had been primarily fixated on two “showy” facility projects and funneled mega-millions into them----
- the humongous new Reagan Elementary School, which boasts such “frills” as mosaic floor tile, wooden ceiling, and outside electric scrolling sign
- New Berlin West renovations that include an extravagant new Field House and cavernous auditorium
Meanwhile, a number of significant, important projects at District schools were neglected, overlooked, or put off, such as Orchard Lane asphalt replacement. Because the School Board/District had failed to allocate the necessary funds, Orchard Lane’s asphalt continued to deteriorate, endangering children. To Superintendent Paul Kreutzer’s credit, he has pushed the School Board to take care of these “dire” needs.
At the Oct. 8 Board Meeting, the motion “ To approve commencement of work on the asphalt project at Orchard Lane at the lowest possible bid, and (friendly amendment) to fund an amount not to exceed $270,000 to identify maintenance projects this year” passed on a 4-3 vote, with Manley, Matt Thomas, and John Kegel dissenting.