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WACS receives mostly favorable results from state mandated water testing

February 1, 2017
By David Prenatt - editorial@westfieldrepublican.com , Westfield Republican

The results of the state mandated water testing for Westfield Academy and Central School District are mostly favorable, board of education members learned at their supplemental meeting on January 23.

Facilities Director Lou Golando told board members that only 17 out of 224 samples tested for lead were above 15 parts per billion, the action level set by NYSDOH.

Golando said the results were returned to Westfield on January 19. Out of the 17 sites that failed, four samples were taken in areas that did not require testing and do not require remediation, Golando said.

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
Alternative Education director Robert Dyment speaks to WACS board of education members.

The remaining sites, which included faucets in bathrooms, science lab fixtures, and a concession stand fixture, have been turned off or had signage posted that the water is not for consumption, Golando said. "We're in compliance with everything the state has asked us to do," Golando noted.

Superintendent David Davison told board members that the state requires the district to send a letter to parents within ten days; WACS mailed an informational letter to parents on Monday, January 23, which was within two school days, he said.

Golando told the board that remediation can involve replacing fixtures or retesting under specific criteria. He noted that in no instance is the problem from the plumbing, so there is no need to replace pipes. The fixtures will most likely be replaced in the faculty bathroom and distance learning room, Golando said.

Board president Steve Cockram asked Golando about test results for fixtures that were replaced as part of the capital improvement project. Golando replied that all fixtures that were replaced as part of the capital project passed. "Everything that was new had no issues," he added.

Cockram also told the board that it is important for everyone to run water before using it for drinking or cooking, so any contaminants go down the drain. Davison noted all of the district's water test results are posted on the web site, as well as a description of what is being done for all fixtures that exceeded the action level.

In other business, Alternative Education director Robert Dyment spoke to the board about the district's program at Wayside , noting that the building itself was a place of physical and emotional safety for those involved in the program.

"I want you to know exactly what this building means to our kids," Dyment said. "This is not only a place where kids go and where they want to be, but a place where they are safe."

The alternative education program deals with six areas recovery, scheduling, medical needs, behavioral issues, TASC (formerly GED) and other needs, Dyment said.

Dyment said the students he deals with face many challenges, but have great potential as well. However, they often do not have the support at home that they need to succeed. "There's not one of these kids who can't be successful," he said. "The saddest thing I have in my job is that some of my kids consider Wayside the safest place they can be."

Dyment praised his co-workers, M. Sue Richardson and Talena Lucas. "This program would not work without these women," he said.

Dyment illustrated how Wayside's 4,350 square feet are divided in such a way as to facilitate interaction with the students and still give them room to move around and to have personal space if they need it.

Student safety is the first area of concern, Dyment said. The building has several escape routes and exit windows if a rapid evacuation is needed. On the other hand, the building can be locked-down swiftly, he said.

"I can secure this building in one minute," Dyment said. "We can get out of this building and we can lock this building down quickly."

This safety extends to the main school building, as well, Dyment said. Because of its place at the front of the school property, any problems in the street can be easily seen and school authorities can be warned. "We are the first line of defense," he said.

Also, in case of an emergency during extreme weather, the Wayside building offers protection in its basement. It also offers a place of refuge for students should the main building need to be evacuated for a fire or other emergency, he said.

In other matters, the board completed a first reading of three policies and made suggested edits. Policy 5630 deals with inspection, operation, and maintenance of facilities. Policy 5681is about school safety plans and policy 6220 deals with temporary teaching personnel.

Davison noted that policy 6220, which allows an uncertified substitute teacher to serve for more than 40 days when there is an urgent need, will help rural districts that do not always have certified substitute teachers available for employment. The policy allows the supervisor to sign a waiver allowing the substitute to continue beyond 40 days if needed.

Cockram brought up the matter of 2017 Board of Education elections. Board members Brenda Backus and Marie Edwards terms are expiring, Cockram said. He noted that candidates need 25 signatures and petitions must be submitted by April 21st.

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