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School District Replies to Patch Reader's Concerns About Edmonds Elementary

The Edmonds School District says damage is not structural, and that the school is ranked 33rd among 149 projects.

On Saturday, Edmonds Patch reader Don Thulin posted a photo collage on Edmonds Patch's Facebook page showing images of .

The images aren't pretty. There are several of dry rot and pealing paint.

"This is what is Edmonds Elementary Students will find when they return to school," Thulin wrote.

The photo caption reads:

After years of neglect, this Edmonds school is rotting away. Is this what the students will find when they return in a couple of weeks? (Editor's note: School begins Sept. 5).

We have passed school maintenance levies; these are those tax dollars rotting away.

Edmonds Patch contacted Edmonds School District spokeswoman DJ Jakala for a response, which was received quickly. Here is what Jakala wrote:

Edmonds Elementary is one of 33 school sites in the Edmonds School District, which serves the communities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and unincorporated south Snohomish County.

As a District, we do long-term facility planning using a state-recommended rating system that prioritizes projects. Currently, there are 149 projects and the work the community member is seeking at Edmonds Elementary is ranked 33rd.

It is important to note that the work needed at Edmonds Elementary was first noted by our Facility and Operations Director, Brian Harding, when he joined the District in 2006. He said the condition has not changed much in the last six years and it is important to know it is damage to the wood veneer and is cosmetic, not structural.

It is also important to note that in generating our priority list districtwide, this project is estimated to cost between $400,000-$500,000. The total estimated cost for all 149 projects is $57 million.

Work prioritized ahead of it are roofing projects and unfunded mandates from the state. The unfunded mandates are related to Department of Labor and Industries requirements for fall protection on our buildings. At the time our buildings were built it was not a requirement to have this protection. However, now  L&I is requiring us to install this protection. This equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars that we are required to spend.

The lighting issue is accurate, but not a mandate, but an issue of the current bulbs we use are no longer being manufactured. The latter mainly involves at this point the required replacement of fluorescent lighting in many of our buildings. We still have approximately $1.2 million to go in completing this requirement alone.

The “T12” bulbs that need to be replaced with “T8’s” also require upgrading/retrofitting the ballast as well. It is not a matter of if but when we run out of T12 bulbs, so that is why the lighting is taking such a high priority on the project list.

“These are the things that keep us from fixing eyesores,” Harding said. “Health and safety, such as roofing repairs rank much higher and then we also have to address the mandated items.”

This is not the answer the community member was looking for, but it is important for our community at large to have a broader understanding of the great efforts that go into maintaining all our facilities with the resources we have.

Thanks to the Edmonds School District for providing such a quick response.

Patch readers, feel free to send along other concerns you may have about our schools.

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