POOLING RESOURCES : RAINS SOAK SCHOOLS IN MISERY.
Rainwater dripped into buckets and garbage can lids as sopping pink towels covered counters and floors Wednesday at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies.
``Every time it rains, we have to go through this minefield,'' Assistant Principal John White said, looking up at the ceiling.
The Reseda magnet school wasn't the only one battling watery woes during Wednesday's massive storm, which was expected to end today.
At least three other schools in the San Fernando Valley reported leaky roofs and rain-related problems.
Van Nuys High School, Maclay Middle School and Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School, both in Pacoima, were stuck with puddles as a result of what administrators say are sorely needed repairs.
In one of the worst cases, Maclay was forced to shut 19 classrooms because of leaks.
School officials blame the damage on long-delayed maintenance and overdue replacements of roofs, some of them more than 20 years old. The nation's second-largest school district was faced with a $600 million maintenance backlog in 1995 alone, officials said.
Los Angeles Unified School District administrators say the district is hard pressed to fix aging buildings without a school construction bond.
A proposal for a $2.4 billion bond, identical to one narrowly defeated in the November election, is expected to be placed on the ballot for April's municipal election.
``These roofs have been patched and repatched so many times,'' said Cluster Administrator Mary Louise Reza, who oversees schools in the Valley. ``This is a result of not having adequate funding over the years. We are really anxious to see that bond passed in April.''
Money from the bond would be used to repair leaky roofs, repaint buildings, rewire schools for computers and install air conditioning in classrooms.
A Jan. 6 windstorm ripped the roofs off two buildings at Maclay Middle School, leaving rooms vulnerable to relentless rains.
``It's like some giant tore off your roof and threw in buckets and buckets of water,'' said Dan Rodriguez, assistant principal of the Pacoima school.
The 19 classrooms at Maclay were shut Wednesday. The district has promised new roofs as soon as the weather stabilizes, Rodriguez said.
In the meantime, ceilings are being patched and students and teachers have sought shelter anywhere they can. Five classes share the multipurpose room, as others meet in the library.
At Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, leaky roofs have left two offices and five classrooms in puddles.
Bundles of rain-soaked office supplies had to be tossed out, clerks said. Dangerous drips along lighting fixtures forced employees to shut them off and work in the dark.
``It was pouring in here,'' attendance clerk Aileen DeSantiago said.
On Wednesday, a science class had to be relocated out of a dripping lab to another classroom. Instead of doing experiments, students watched a video.
In their lab, the ceiling was a polka-dotted map of rain stains, the wooden floor buckled about 6 inches off the floor in one spot, as plywood planks covered damage in another.
At Van Nuys High School, leaks cropped up in classrooms and consistently in the cafeteria, according to the school's medical magnet program's coordinator Joan Mills.
Mills said that a teacher broke her wrist about a month ago when she slipped in a puddle created by a leak. ``The school is in bad repair,'' she said.
The recent spate of rainy weather has made it next to impossible for workers to repair a wind-damaged roof at Pacoima's Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School, where students were moved out of classrooms to drier areas Wednesday.
School employees said that delaying roof replacements can endanger equipment and interiors, all resulting in increased costs.
``You haven't saved any money,'' said Robin Clevenger, plant manager of the Sherman Oak Center for Enriched Studies. ``You've just compounded it.''
PHOTO (color) Vera Clement and John White stand by receptacles used to catch dripping rainwater at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies.
Evan Yee/Daily News
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jan 16, 1997|
|Previous Article:||C-SPAN GIVES STUDENTS SCOOP : NETWORK BUS VISITS SANTA SUSANA HIGH.|
|Next Article:||MOORPARK STUDENTS TO STAGE OWN MUSICAL.|