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AMADOR COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

SCHOOL OVERSIGHT

REASON FOR REVIEW

Penal Code, Sections 925 and 933.5 grant the Grand Jury jurisdiction to investigate and report on the operations of any district within the County.

Because only a few of the schools have been inspected by a Grand Jury over the last several years, the current jury decided to conduct on-site visits to all the schools within Amador County Unified School District (ACUSD) as part of their routine investi gation.

BACKGROUND

Each school is individually listed, and the Grand Jury's concerns noted. However, the Amador County Court School (ACCS) is not included because it was felt a more in-depth study was needed for ACCS.

Plymouth

Plymouth Elementary School is located at 18601 Sherwood Street and has 220 students enrolled in grades 2 through 6. At the time the Grand Jury visited, the general maintenance and custodial care appeared to be very good. A communication system has been installed which meets regular classroom needs. However, the communication system to the portables needs improvement.

Plymouth Primary School is located on Shenandoah Road and has 27 students enrolled in grades K through 1. These students will eventually be transferred to Plymouth Elementary; however, no definite time frame for the move has been established. It is anticipated the primary school will be closed after the students are relocated. Due to the close proximity of the vineyard, health hazards could exist if the adjacent property owner sprays pesticides or herbicides. Also, a storage building located on the school grounds presents a fire and safety hazard to the children. This facility has water leakage problems.

Ione

Ione Elementary School is located at 415 South Ione Street and has 603 students enrolled. Safety hazards such as fireplugs in the middle of the playground exist which could compromise the safety of the children. There is an unsecured storage space under the stage area that presents a hazard for the students. Also, there is no communication system to the 13 portable classrooms. These facilities have water leakage problems.

Ione Junior High School is located at 450 South Mill Street and has 402 students enrolled. The school, building and grounds maintenance appear to be acceptable. A communication system is in place, but needs to be upgraded.

Sutter Creek

Sutter Creek Elementary is located at 340 Spanish Street and has 290 students. The Grand Jury observed several cracks in the sidewalks and potholes in the asphalt that could pose hazards to the students. Grounds and building maintenance appear to be acceptable. Communications to the portables is needed. This facility has water leakage problems.

Sutter Creek Primary is located at 5 Broad Street and has 195 students. This school has several areas of cracked asphalt on the playgrounds and sidewalks that could pose hazards to the students. Grounds and building maintenance appear to be adequate. The communication system at this school needs improvement. This facility has a water leakage problem.

Amador High School is located at 330 Spanish Street and has 940 students. The building and grounds maintenance is adequate. However, there are several trip hazards in the asphalt throughout the campus. Additionally, the general condition of the grounds a round the old section of the school is poor. Cafeteria staff from Amador High prepares lunches for Plymouth, Ione, Sutter Creek, Independence and Court Schools. On the day of inspection, we found the kitchen to be clean and well maintained, however, cafeteria staff were not wearing gloves or hairnets. The swimming pool on the campus is in disrepair. This facility has water leakage problems.

Jackson

Jackson Elementary School is located at 220 Church Street and has 430 students. This school is in serious disrepair and has inadequate building maintenance. The bathrooms, auditorium/cafeteria, storage areas, etc. need repainting and/or remodeling. This facility has water leakage problems.

Jackson Junior High School is located at 333 Rex Avenue and has 450 students. The grounds and building maintenance appear to be acceptable. A communication system needs to be installed for security purposes. The school is also in need of an indoor area for the students to sit while they eat. This facility has water leakage problems.

Argonaut High School is located at 501 Argonaut Lane and has 551 students. Maintenance and custodial services need to be improved. Numerous cracks in the asphalt, and metal strips protruding on a pathway, exist that could present trip hazards. Air conditioning and heating in the science rooms are inadequate. Additionally, overcrowding in the science room appears to be a problem. Faculty expressed concerns over student's desks situated too close to lab areas. Again, we found cafeteria staff not wearing gloves while preparing school lunches. This facility has water leakage problems.

Pine Grove

Pioneer Elementary School is located at 24625 Highway 88 and has 280 students enrolled. At the time the Grand Jury visited, the communication system was in excellent condition due to a local telephone company. Building and grounds maintenance programs were acceptable. This facility has water leakage problems.

Sutter Hill

Independence High School is located at 525 Independence Drive and has approximately 95 students in grades 9 through 12. Students with special needs attend this school. Building and grounds maintenance is good, however, there was a major water leak from the roof in the entryway of the new facility.

METHODOLOGY

Persons interviewed:

  1. Superintendent of Schools
  2. Assistant Superintendent of Schools
  3. Chief Business Official
  4. Principals
  5. Teachers
  6. Director of Maintenance
  7. Maintenance Personnel

Documents examined:

  1. Deferred Maintenance Five-Year Plan
  2. Education Code, Section 48900
  3. Health and Safety Code, Section 27605

The Grand Jury visited all the schools within the ACUSD.

FACTS

  1. There is a shortage of maintenance workers within the School District.
  2. Many of the facilities show signs of deterioration.
  3. Several schools lack a sufficient internal telephone and/or intercom communication system.
  4. Dangerous objects are located on several playgrounds.
  5. Kitchen staff at Argonaut and Amador High Schools were observed not wearing gloves and/or hairnets while preparing lunches for the students.
  6. Obsolete computers are stored at every school location.
  7. Serious water leakage problems were noted in several of the portable classrooms. Some leakage and/or damage were also noted in the main buildings.
  8. Plymouth Primary School is located adjacent to a vineyard.
  9. Students were noted smoking cigarettes on the school grounds.
  10. The swimming pool at Amador High School is in major disrepair.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The number of maintenance staff is inadequate to serve the District's maintenance needs.
  2. Most of the schools have water leakage problems.
  3. Several of the schools are in need of repainting.
  4. Most of the schools lack sufficient telephone and/or intercom communication systems.
  5. Obsolete computers are occupying valuable space in schools throughout the District.
  6. Kitchen staff are in violation of California Health and Safety Code, Section 27605, by failing to wear gloves and hairnets while preparing food for the students.
  7. Education Code, Section 48900 is being violated by allowing cigarette smoking on and around school grounds.
  8. A health hazard could exist if pesticides or herbicides are used in the vineyards adjacent to Plymouth Primary School.
  9. The swimming pool at Amador High School needs repair or removal.
  10. Custodial services are inconsistent.
  11. Potential safety hazards exist at most of the school sites.
  12. Many of the Grand Jury's concerns are addressed in the "Deferred Maintenance Five-Year Plan".

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Evaluate the performance of custodial staff and take steps for improvement where needed.
  2. Annually budget sufficient funds for proper maintenance of the schools.
  3. Dispose of obsolete computers.
  4. Ensure kitchen staff adheres to Health and Safety Code, Section 27605.
  5. Increase supervision to insure that Education Code, Section 48900 is enforced.
  6. Relocate the students at Plymouth Primary School immediately.
  7. Form a task force to address the swimming pool problems at Amador High School.
  8. ACUSD adopt and implement the "Deferred Maintenance Five-Year Plan". However, based upon the deteriorating condition at Jackson Elementary, it should be given top priority for all project categories.

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