Letter to the Editor: Report requested

Dear Editor:
I’m writing today to voice my concern over the how the elementary school debacle is being handled and the lack of information that is being provided to the community. As a community we are aware there is an issue but as to how it pertains to the safety of our children and how it will be resolved, there is little or no explanation.It is my understanding that there is a very comprehensive structural evaluation that has been completed and provided to both the school board and Neenan Construction. I personally have formally requested to review the report and been denied. In fact, two “Freedom of Information Act” letters later and the school board continues to refuse to let anyone in the public see what’s in the structural evaluation report; in addition they seem to hint that they may never release the report. So even though the community is paying for the whole matter we will never get to see what we paid for? What can possibly be in this report that is so bad that the people paying the bills cannot see the material? Or is it that Neenan doesn’t want the material let out and are threatening the school board with all sorts of nasty things to keep the report secret using legal-ese?What happens if there is a catastrophic failure and school is in session? It would be nice to have a better feel how many structural deficiencies are identified in the report and how they will be addressed, but since the public is not honored enough to see it, we will have only our publicly elected officials’ word to assure us of building safety. Can one person on the school board legitimately explain their qualifications to read this report and tell the public how the building will now be safe? I may not have the qualifications either but I know a few registered professional engineers who would happily look at the plans for me. As a parent with a child in the building I would like the information to review just for peace of mind.I hope the Rio Blanco Herald Times is able to put together a public debate/forum during the upcoming school board election because it would be nice to hear from more than school district staff in a public meeting because either the school board is pulling the ultimate CYA action or Neenan is running the show again, either way we are not getting much public service.|
Thomas Kennedy