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Proposition S Chair: "Students, Staff Will Benefit by Voting Yes"

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: "As Rockwood School District parents and residents, we recognize the vast needs of our schools," says a Rockwood parent, who heads a group that is supporting the $38.4M no-tax increase bond issue on the April 2 ballot.

Rockwood School District Voters:

For more than 10 years, my family has been part of the Rockwood School District, and I have been involved in many of the district's efforts. Most recently, I was asked to head up the 2013 Prop S Bond Issue Committee, and of course, I said yes, to further show my support of the district and this initiative.

I know how important this bond issue is to district families. Our community needs to pass a bond issue to make improvements to the schools. While funding remains a concern for many school districts, this bond issue will assist in providing safety, technology and facility improvements, which will continue to assist Rockwood School District in being a premiere school district.

We, as members of the Prop S committee, toured the schools that were on the bond issue list for major improvements, and see firsthand the district and school needs. Dennis Griffith (Rockwood assistant superintendent/director of administrative services) took us on a tour of these schools, where we were able to see the needed improvements, and speak with the employees.

Prop S Projects

Funding from Prop S will provide safety, technology and facility improvements throughout the Rockwood School District. Descriptions for some of the major school improvement projects included on Prop S follow.

Project:  Renovate Stanton Elementary School’s Kitchen
Why this renovation is needed: 
With approximately 525 students, Stanton’s kitchen currently does not have the space to store enough food to feed students on a daily basis because the kitchen lacks any walk-in coolers. As a result, supplies must be ordered on a weekly basis, which causes a back-order for frozen items. Delivery drivers often make additional trips to neighboring schools to pick up food to serve the Stanton Elementary students. In addition, the kitchen lacks a storage closet. When deliveries are made, items are put in the kitchen manager’s small office and with limited space; this is a safety concern. The kitchen staff also only has an antiquated stove and have to come in earlier to make school breakfasts. There is also only one dated warmer to store the food after cooking, which is not enough for the cafeteria demands.

Project:  Renovate Uthoff Valley Elementary School’s Cafeteria
Why this renovation is needed:  With a student population of more than 480 students, Uthoff Valley must hold five lunch shifts between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to serve lunch to all students. With limited space, the school does not have a storage area. In addition, tables are used to hide a refrigerator that is stored at one end of the cafeteria. A make-shift wall is used to hide the floor cleaner, which is stored in the same space. The custodian’s office is in a small cramped supply cleaning closet near the cafeteria. Overall, the school has outgrown its current cafeteria space and renovations are needed to better serve the students and school employees. 

Project:  Renovate Eureka High School’s Locker Room
Why this renovation is needed:  Eureka’s locker rooms can only accommodate one-third of the school’s student population. Students have to carry their books and clothes with them to PE. Students are often late for class as there is not enough room for all the kids to be in the locker room at one time. The facilities were built in 1971 and then renovated in 1983 when Eureka had around 700 students. Today, Eureka has more than 1,990 students. In addition to the lack of space, the locker rooms are not handicap accessible and have poor ventilation. Renovation of these facilities will benefit the entire student population as the locker rooms are used on a daily basis for physical education classes as well as athletic programs. 

Project:  Update Eureka Elementary School’s electrical wiring and renovate its kitchen and cafeteria
Why these projects are needed:  The school’s electrical units are supported on three poles located at the back entrance of this school. This area is where parents pick-up and drop-off their children each day as well as staff parking. With funding from Prop S, the school will be able to put the electrical units underground, making the entrance safer for students, parents and staff.

Coupled with this need, the school’s kitchen and cafeteria spaces are too small to serve the needs of the students. There is only enough space for one person to walk through on each side of the kitchen. There are not enough ovens to cook more food or to keep the food that is cooked warm; there is also only one table to prepare their food. The kitchen staff needs more space to accommodate their breakfast and lunch routines. Currently, only three classes, or around 70 students, can be served lunch at the same time because of a lack of seating in the cafeteria, as well as the lack of ovens to cook food for students. Food has to be ordered and delivered on a daily basis, as there is no place to store it. When there is a higher demand for a certain item for the day, calls have to be made to other schools to get more food at the last minute. Similar to Stanton Elementary, delivery drivers often have to make additional trips to neighboring schools to pick-up food to serve the students at Eureka Elementary. 

Although not all of the schools are receiving major projects, such as those just listed, here are the other items Prop S will cover for several schools in Rockwood:

Updates for security cameras (network wiring upgrade); Additional security cameras (200); Generator interface to buildings (back up for phone system); Improved visitor ID security; Check-in center upgrades; New lock system for interior classroom doors; Computer/Network wiring upgrades; Maintenance on projectors, audio, and SMART boards; Upgrades to network switches, access points and server storage; Fire alarm and electrical system upgrades; Fire sprinkler/code compliance; Roofing renovations; Upgrades and structural masonry repairs; Mechanical system replacements and energy savings improvements initiatives; Safety repairs and upgrades for bleachers and gym flooring; Safety improvements for play area surfaces, parking, and sidewalks; Infrastructure improvements; Upgrades to perimeter fences and walls; Upgrades to front entrances and cafeterias; Public address system upgrades.

As Rockwood School District parents and residents, we recognize the vast needs of our schools. Our students and staff will benefit by Voting Yes on Prop S.

Be sure to vote Yes on Prop S on Tuesday, April 2.   

Sincerely,

Rhonda Costa
Ballwin
Chair, Proposition S Committee

Dennis Hourcade April 01, 2013 at 10:31 PM
If the proposition fails, that could justify spending the surplus on whatever the then-existing leadership considers to be urgent needs. And how will that work out as far as fiscal management? At least bond funding would be earmarked for specified projects. I think there would be fewer points of accountability in the use of the surplus.
Mathew April 02, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Here is a quote from the MarketVolt (the bulk email company used by "RS for RS"). Readers, who undoubtedly have also been the recipient of "RS for RS" broadcast campaigning emails (SPAM), where RS for RS purchased the RSD parents' email list from RSD (who could not refuse) can read for themselves the policy of this company: "We do NOT allow you to upload a purchased list into the MarketVolt system and treat that list as part of the house list to which you repeatedly send email campaigns." You just can't make this stuff-up.
Thomas Paine April 02, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Mr. Miller, Trying but failing to follow your logic. Continuing your parallels analysis, a teacher teaching at 30 schools (RSD) would be considered a poor performer if his/her teachers scores were lower than a teacher instructing at 5 schools (e.g. Mexico school district)? The point being that the auditor does not scale the number of findings to the institution's size. And the only two school districts scoring higher than Rockwood were much, much smaller (one being Mexico's), and they received a "good". Below I paste-in a portion of the auditor's definitions: "Poor" = "...the report contains NUMEROUS findings. "Fair" = "..the report contains SEVERAL findings...." "Good" = "...the report contains FEW findings..." "Excellent" = "...the report contains NO findings...." No offense, but it seems that Chicken Little has been at work with the auditor's report.
Mathew April 02, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Eileen, I have a bone to pick with you and "RS for RS". I just received my second e-mail blast from this "RS for RS" group. I expect that all reading this received them too. I checked with Rockwood School District and found "RS for RS" obtained the e-mail list from the school district. I then went to the web-service (Market-Volt) used by "RS for RS", and read their rules. They require that users of their service (i.e."RS for RS") first obtain approval ("opt-in") from persons included in the e-mail list to receive the mass mailings. Their policy is clearly explained. It appears that "RS for RS", members of which are commenting in this thread, have unethically misrepresented the facts. In no way have I ever opted-in for "RS for RS" to use my e-mail. Unhappy to be receiving this drivel too? Consider filing an ethics complaint with the school district. BTW, I am more convinced by e-mails from that guy in Nigeria who keeps offering to share his millions with me if I send him a deposit....
Michael Rhodes April 02, 2013 at 01:23 PM
I will be voting yes on this Prop. I am still deciding which two board members to vote for out of the three I am considering. Mr. Morrell (sorry if I spelled that wrong) lost me when I read some of his comments on other articles. Just didn't seem like a person I would want to represent me on the school board.

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