The Philomath School District’s facilities director prioritized $695,000 in projects for the 2019-20 budget year in a report Thursday night before the school board.
Nearly a third of that amount would go to a project to repair a Philomath High School gymnasium roof that leaks.
Joey DiGiovannangelo, facilities director, said the “worst-case scenario” figure to the school district for repairing the roof amounts to $220,000. However, district officials are working on the issue of who will pay for the repairs on a roof that’s only seven years old.
Bill Mancuso, business manager, said solar panels that were installed on the new roof were responsible for the damage.
“The roof was installed and the panels were installed on top of that, so the reality is the roofers are not responsible for the solar panels doing the damage,” Mancuso told the school board. “We’re currently talking to counsel about how do we go about trying to find ways to get all of our significant portion of the cost of repairing the roof taken care of. That’s what we’re working on at this point to make that happen.”
DiGiovannangelo said in his report that the solar panels would be removed and then reinstalled in a different fashion.
“The way they put them on there, right now the panels just sit up there and slide back and forth and so over time, it’s starting to dig pretty serious holes in the roof,” DiGiovannangelo said.
DiGiovannangelo provided photos to illustrate the problem.
“From looking at the damages, it’s obvious that something wasn’t right,” school board member Rick Wells said. “With this much damage from what I’m seeing here, to me it doesn’t make much sense to patch it. Just take it off and fix it right. Then there’s no problem in the future; it’ll last as long as it’s supposed to last.”
DiGiovannangelo agreed with that assessment.
“The way it is right now, we can have somebody come up there and patch it but I want to make sure that we ... get the remaining 25 years out of that warranty,” he said. “So we just can’t have anybody come up there and start patching and say, ‘oh yeah, it’s good’ and then five years down the road, all the patches are pulling off because that’s typically what happens.”
DiGiovannangelo stressed that the $220,000 amount that he quotes in his report was based on the cost of the project.
“I wanted you guys to be aware of that because that is a possibility,” DiGiovannangelo said about who would be responsible to foot the bill. “I didn’t want to say $60,000 and we can pull these things off and patch that area and we still maintain our warranty. I don’t have those answers yet but that’s what I’m working toward.”
Mancuso said the process of looking into the damage and how to fix it began only a few weeks ago, so more information will be coming.
In response to a question from board member Shelly Brown, Mancuso said the solar panels have been bringing in an average of $10,000 a year in savings on the district’s utility bill.
“But the problem is after five years of getting those funds, we’re throwing that money right back out” to fix the problem with the roofing, Mancuso said.
Mancuso mentioned possible funding sources, including grants, to help reduce the actual cost to the district for all of the facilities projects.
Board chair Jim Kildea asked if there would be an update in executive session.
“We’re planning on doing that once counsel has time to look through the documents,” Mancuso said.
In other news from the Feb. 21 meeting:
• Jamon Ellingson, Kings Valley Charter School executive director, presented a report to the board on its 17th year of operation (2017-18 school year) with references to success in terms of test scores and financial stability. One concern area with testing could be seen with fifth-grade math but Ellingson said the school has responded with significant adjustments for this current school year.
• The board made a proclamation in support of National School Counseling Week with leadership reports focusing on their work with the district. Counselors in attendance included Mallory Crane (Clemens Primary School), Jill Williams (Philomath Elementary and Blodgett School), Mike Panico (Philomath Middle School), Kim St. Clair (Philomath High School) and Beth Edgemon (Philomath High School). Following the proclamation, board members took a few moments to shake hands with each.
• Rob Singleton, technology director, briefed the board on his department’s needs with a five-year plan. Singleton listed as priorities student learning needs, teachers’ capacities to adopt technology and maximizing a federal program called E-rate that provides discounts to help schools to keep telecommunications and internet costs affordable.
• The district’s full-time student enrollment as of Feb. 11 stood at 1,619 students — primary (178), elementary (377), Blodgett (33), middle school (365), high school (461) and KVCS (205). Enrollment is down nine students from opening day and up one from February 2018.
• The board’s approval of a consent agenda included designating a 1968 Pontiac GTO drag-racing car as surplus property, which means the district can sell it. With the recent idea of establishing a drag-racing club at the school, board members did show some concern about the move creating some sort of controversy but both DiGiovannangelo and high school principal Mike Bussard said they had received no interest from those organizers on obtaining the car. The car was estimated to have a value of $4,500 to $6,500.
• The board adopted on a 4-0 vote (Greg Gerding absent) an updated trust agreement with insurance carrier Property and Casualty Coverage for Education, or PACE, which covers nearly all 197 Oregon school districts.