As soon as the classrooms were free of students, the workers were there. On Monday, Dec. 19, 2022 work began to repair the ceilings in classrooms that had been in need of getting the ’tiles’ replaced. While this was part of a recommendation during a recent state inspection, this seemingly pedestrian bit of business had become a lightening rod, with several people taking it on as a full fledged cause at the most recent school board meeting.
At the Dec. 13, 2022 school board meeting, former candidate for office Marci Baun spoke from the podium, claiming that a janitor’s strike at El Marino had caused a hazardous amount of garbage to pile up, and added that the ceiling tiles at several schools were constantly falling on students.
A high school student attending the meeting via Zoom took the opportunity to scream invective at the board, repeatedly shrieking the phrase “How dare you? How dare you?” in regard to funds being spent elsewhere when janitorial services were lacking.
A letter to the editor at this publication decried that money was being spent on iPads that should be used to fix the ceilings.
When Robert Quinn, the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, offered his report in the usual course of the agenda, he clarified the matter by noting that there was no janitors strike (this would have been a matter for the Classified Employees Union,) that the iPads were purchased out of a grant that was specific to technology and those funds could not have been used for anything else, and that the contract was already in place to get the ceilings repaired. “We have to wait until we have a moment when the kids are not in the classrooms. We can’t have workers climbing over desks when there are students sitting in those desks.”
Work on the ceilings began on Monday, and will continue through the winter break.
Judith Martin- Straw