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District 303 board hears air conditioning, Richmond-Davis concerns

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

WASCO ­– Residents with concerns about some schools’ lack of air conditioning, as well as those with comments about the recent Richmond-Davis merger case ruling, addressed the St. Charles School District 303 board meeting Monday evening.

Due to the heat, administrators closed Corron, Norton Creek and Wild Rose elementary schools today, and Thompson and Haines middle schools have early dismissals.

Shaun Varghese spoke about the issue, stating that a lack of air conditioning jeopardizes the health and safety of students, noting that it is no longer considered a luxury, but a necessity.

Another parent of Corron students, Brook Silvestri, said he had concerns about how the heat affects his child’s asthma. He said breathing in those conditions is “like trying to breathe through a straw.”

Superintendent Don Schlomann said the board intends to create a plan to install air conditioning in January, when it has a better idea of what its financial picture will be.

Others shared comments about the Richmond-Davis case ruling, which challenged the legality of reconfiguring Davis and Richmond elementary schools into schools serving grades K-2 and 3-5, respectively.

Parents, who filed the lawsuit in 2011, alleged the district circumvented No Child Left Behind regulations when it did so. A judge ruled in favor of the parents.

Charlotte Norgaard said the ruling should make her happy, but instead it made her angry.

“The fact that it took a court order for you to finally come up with a new plan is infuriating,” she said.

Board member Edward McNally asked board members to “stop trying to manipulate the data from our own website to say that the situation is more palpable than it is, admit the failure and quit trying to prevent other board members from speaking to the press, stop defending the superintendent when he clearly acted improperly, pedagogically and legally.”

McNally also asked that the board discuss its plans at the next meeting, but Schlomann said the matter is still in the court’s hands with a status hearing coming Wednesday.

“I think it is inappropriate at this time without one, talking to legal counsel, and two, waiting until the judge has completed it,” he said.

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