Tardy repairs add up to $3 million sum

Five schools in the city sorely need nearly $3 million worth of overdue renovations, according to a new report.

A total of $2.93 million worth of upgrades to roofs, bathrooms, heating, air conditioning, pavement, playgrounds, chipped walls and much more are needed, according to the report released Wednesday. The Millbrae Elementary School District has $4 million leftover from a $20.1 million sale of an elementary school in July that can be used to fund the essential projects, said district Chief Business Official Nancy Palmer. That money can only be used for structural improvements within the district.

“There’s an awful lot of work and not a lot of money for it,” said Bill Portman of Burlingame-based Frank Portman Construction Co., who conducted the report.

Portman provided the information during a presentation to officials and board trustees of the 2,100-student district during a special study session Wednesday. He outlined further work needed for the schools, including plumbing and electrical maintenance, improvements to bleachers, doors, cafeterias and multipurpose rooms.

Administrators’ told stories of inadequate facilities during Wednesday’s meeting. The east side of Taylor Middle School floods whenever it rains, trustee Frank Barbaro said. Taylor Principal Bob Silva joked that he has to mow the roof yearly because of all the moss and grass on its surface. There were also stories of buckets on floors to catch rain.

“All the schools do have physical needs that have to be dealt with sooner or later,” said Green Hills PTA President Sharyl Weinshilboum. “The bathrooms [at Green Hills elementary] need to be redone. They’re in pretty rough shape.”

Weinshilboum added that she hoped the upgrades could begin this summer, as some of the damaged facilities pose safety concerns and make the classrooms an uncomfortable place in which to teach and learn.

The district hired Portman as an independent consultant after its board of trustees was given a tour of each of the district’s facilities recently. The board will set a date for an upcoming meeting to decide which projects will be worked on, and when.

Earlier this year the district and the city reached an agreement to renovate its school fields, including three that are currently unplayable.

The district has cut $1.8 million from its budget in the last five years and is hoping to raise $400,000 to $500,000 by asking voters to approve a $78-per-parcel tax called Measure P during Tuesday’s election. Proceeds from the parcel tax, however, will not be used to help fund structural improvements in any way.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

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