Fawn Hollow Roof Tops Laundry List of School Maintenance Needs

Supt. of Schools James Agostine has identified numerous safety issues posed by maintenance needs throughout the district.

Supt. of Schools James Agostine toured all of Monroe's school facilities and identified numerous conditions in need of emergency repairs including broken glass, curbing and drainage issues, and a softball field at Masuk High School that's "virtually impossible to play on."

"There are a lot of emergency repairs we have to get through quickly," Agostine told Board of Education members at their Monday night meeting. "I'd like to scour our accounts" to address these needs as soon as possible.

But the big ticket item is replacing the roof at Fawn Hollow Elementary School, 345 Fan Hill Road, according to a report The Fisher Group LLC prepared for the district. The cost is estimated to be $1,580,000.

"I don't know how solid that number is and would like to get a construction manager's estimate — then plan," Agostine said.

Agostine wants to get requests for proposals after a construction manager looks at the roof and hopefully get the roof replacement project underway by the summer of 2013.

Gabriela DiBlasi, finance director for Monroe Public Schools, said state reimbursement in the 30-35 percent range is possible.

Mark Antinozzi, a board member, pointed out that Fawn Hollow's roof is "the low man on the totempole" in CIFAP's (the Capital Infrastructure Facility Asset Planning Sub-Committee) list of priorities among the town's capital needs. "How do we bring it up?" he asked.

"I think the report can do that and get it up to an emergency repair," Agostine said.

The Report's Findings

The Fisher Group had a site visit on Jan. 5 and completed the study on Jan. 13. The original section of Fawn Hollow is 46-years-old and an addition was built in 1989, "which is remarkable for any type of flat roof construction," according to the report.

The Fisher Group identified numerous deficiencies, including membrane blistering and ridging, splits/ruptures in the ply felts, deteriorated wall, curb and penetration flashings.

"The custodial staff has acknowledged that water leakage occurs in isolated building sections," the report said. "This is no surprise considering the various deficiencies present in the roofing construction."

One problem area is leakage over the gymnasium.

A part in the Summary of Conclusions that stood out to Agostine was where it said the roof is "at the end of its anticipated life service" and that roofing replacement should be planned within this calendar year.

Fisher recommends an EPDM roofing system with a 20-year-warranty, which would comply with the requirements of the Connecticut State Energy Conservation Construction Code.

Agostine said there are problem areas that were patched and re-patched and that the roof's condition continues to deteriorate. If nothing is done, he said problem areas will continue to leak.

One Board of Education member asked if there was any mold.

"There are some active leaks. No mold," Agostine said. "We're very lucky with that."

John F. March 20, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Well, here is a solution. If you cannot afford to live here, move out. And if you don't like the way the town is run, you can move out too. Everyone left will be happy and get along then, right?
QWERTY March 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I love how you quoted what the professionals stated and then added your own opinion as if YOU were the professional! I'm pretty sure Fisher would have mentioned if the building was going to collapse.
jim laguardia March 20, 2012 at 07:10 PM
this is not "throwing money at education"..... this is fixing a roof of an elementary school !!! this is pro-education this is pro-common sense
jim laguardia March 20, 2012 at 07:17 PM
sorry should have said this is "not pro-education it is pro-common sense"
Nancy Bennet March 20, 2012 at 07:24 PM
John F. what do you mean by "continually just throwing money at education"?
Christine E. March 20, 2012 at 07:33 PM
John F. Here's the point where everyone is going to read too far into what you just wrote and somehow imply that you hate children and kick babies for sport.
jim laguardia March 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM
sorry christine it is not reading too far when it is written in black and white..... and as far as kicking babies for sport as long as it is catch and release most people are ok with it
Joey March 20, 2012 at 07:45 PM
WOW! The town crazies don't even care about a roof at an elementary school in serious need of repair. Talk about self-centered and greedy. Maybe people who post in this forum like Christine E would care if they had children at FH?
Joey March 20, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Unlike Monroe Taxpayer I am more concerned about a building full of hundreds of children.
Christine E. March 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Oh Joey, it's really sad that you label people who have questions and concerns as 'not caring' and 'self centered'. One might say that your frivelous insults and anger towards people who disagree with you is, in itself, self centered. You know, your approach to getting what you want is counterintuitive. You want us to support your cause, but you insult us at the same time. Where's the productivity in that?
Christine E. March 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Good to know :)
John F. March 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Nancy and Jim, I do support education. I was raised in this town and I would like nothing more than to see the schools succeed. When I say "throw money at education", there are some people on here who blindly see 0%, and go on the attack. The BOE has agreed with this and can make it work. Those most vocally against 0% want the "town-side" to suffer. Correct me if I am wrong, but the schools and the town are one in the same, not two separate sides. Last year the big complaint was that among our peers (DRG-B), our spending per pupil was poor. Monroe has improved quite a bit in this category, while our peers have cut spending per pupil (Monroe now top 3rd). Yet no one says a peep. Yes, just one year, but people still bicker over 0%, even when the student population is decreasing, and is expected to decrease, which would make our cost per pupil indeed go up even further. Again, not one peep about that. Are there issues with Fawn Hallow's roof? Of course there is. Do I think it needs to be fixed? You betcha. In fact, I would be all for bumping up the education budget by $1 million this year to cover some of the costs. However I am hesitant to do that because I know the education budget would not come down by that next year.
jim laguardia March 20, 2012 at 08:57 PM
john- the BoE had no choice but to say they can make it work the BoF was going to do it anyway.... the point is this makes 2 years in a row of 0% and since last year it passed on the first try that means the "anti-education" folks voted yes because they got what they wanted and now the shoe is on the other foot so to speak.
John F. March 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Of course the BOE had a choice. They could have voiced their opinions, like they have every single year before this. Are you saying the BOE has no backbone anymore? And with 0%, great. Now we are paying the same amount of money to educate less students. Again, top 1/3rd in DRG-B this year, which was the big talk last year. Now all of a sudden, people are upset at 0%. Everyone wants a little bit more.
jim laguardia March 21, 2012 at 01:00 PM
they had no choice it was going to be 0% the BoF made that crystal clear. they were going to make it 0% like it or not. and again i am not asking for more i am asking for what used to be and was taken away..... i.e. class size we were told that the inflating "supersised" classes was going to be temporary 3 years ago
Thesaurus March 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Place buckets under the leaks to catch the water. VOTE NO if municipal is not ZERO.
Thesaurus March 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM
@Christine, Joey and Sheila D have unlimited budgets to pay taxes,according to their postings.
Ride the lightning March 21, 2012 at 02:50 PM
@thesaurus - maybe Joey and Shelia D see the power that a good college degree and hard work will bring. Kind of ironic that you belittle people who value education given your lack thereof and your vocal hardships. We want a good education for our children so they don't end up bitter and miserly like you!
John F. March 21, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Nothing wrong with wanting a good education for your kids. However, I have yet to hear anything other ideas other than "we want more money". The money spent per pupil in this town has gone up the last two years, while surrounding towns have gone down. Student enrollment is down. Chalk Hill is no longer in use as a school. Nothing I have seen justifies the budget to be increased, except for the need to repair some of the schools. And we all know that if the budget gets increased for that one time fix, the budget won't come down the next year. This town spends a larger percentage of its revenue on education than many other towns which have a broader tax base as well as lower mill rates. The teacher to student ratio matches or is better than many of the other districts. Yes, we all want a good quality education for our kids, but if we they are not getting it with the funding they are receiving, then something is wrong with how the money is being spent, and that should be fixed. Just getting angry because it is 0% is just comical. If you want a better education for your kids in a town that has more resources, then move to a town that is is the DRG-A category.
Ride the lightning March 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM
John F - you make several false arguments. How has our per pupil spending gone up the last 2 years when compared to surrounding towns? We are going through 2 years of 0. This has not happened in similar communities. Student enrollment has gone down but the decline is not concentrated in one grade or classroom. It is spread throughout the entire school community. A couple kids in each classroom across the entire student body does not justify cuts. Interestingly enough, we laid off teachers at a faster rate than the decline justified. You stated the "town spends a larger percentage of its revenue than many towns..." Which towns are you referring to? That statement is very vague. I'm not aware of any towns that spend more or equal amount on both town and school side? Are you? If so could you list those towns? You mention the teacher to student ratio but seem unaware how those numbers include all certified staff. Not all certified staff have classrooms. For example, Speech pathologists, Guidance counselors, administration, paraprofessionals, nurses, psychologists... You might be better off comparing class sizes across DRG-B. You also reference to DRA-A towns having a "better education" due to "more resources" seem to contradict your argument. You clearly state more resources equal a better education but see anything over a 0 as "comical."
Christine E. March 21, 2012 at 05:20 PM
The schools here aren't bad, but everyone seems to believe that they are. Why? Test scores like the CAPT, CMT's and SAT's don't seem to reflect a bad education...do they? While everyone here seems to be saying that we haven't had a raise in two years, we never stop to think that enrollment has gone down, but yet the budget has never decreased...isn't that a good thing? We have a big problem in this town. You can keep spending...you can make the school system A+, keep raising the mill, with the goal of making the town more appealing to families. But, what happens when, down the road, families can't justify moving here? What else is appealing enough to drive people in? At some point you have to give people MORE of a reason to live here besides education. The roads are crap, Rt. 25 looks terrible, commercial business is awful, there's no sewers...what's so appealing about this place OTHER than education? At some point, It would almost make more sense for someone to buy a home that's more expensive in a DRG-A town and pay less in taxes, get a great education, great services etc...and still have the same monthly expenses. No?
Thesaurus March 21, 2012 at 05:27 PM
John F. March 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
First off, there has not been cuts. The budget has remained the same on the education side. The cuts have been to the “proposed” budget. The towns I am referring to are are DRG-B towns. I have not had a chance to go through them all, but the ones I did were Newtown, Shelton, Fairfield, Avon, Greenwich, Newtown and Trumbull. Our spending per pupil was in the middle of the pack 2 years ago, now we are in the top 3rd of DRG-B according to the CT Department of Education. When I say teachers, I am not including administrators, paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodial positions nurses or librarians. I am comparing apples to apples. And as for your last two arguments, no, it is not a contradiction. Those towns are rated A for a reason. They have more resources. And I didn't say anything over 0 is comical, I said getting angry JUST BECAUSE it is 0 is comical, so don't try and change the meaning of a sentence. You know, the people who are up in arms and say it is 0. There is a reason why Monroe is in the B category, because as a town, there are not enough resources to be in the A. It is just that some people in this town want to spend like they are in the A category.
John F. March 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Sorry, posted Newtown twice on that one.
monroe taxpayer March 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I totally agree with Christine E . We can only afford what our tax base will allow us to do. And lets be honest our tax base compares badly to most other towns. I am confused by this explanation "Student enrollment has gone down but the decline is not concentrated in one grade or classroom. It is spread throughout the entire school community" If we had an increases in enrollment would it be at only one school, grade or classroom?? I would assume not? Yet there would be a call for more space if we had an increase of any kind. We are no longer building new homes, like we once were, and until the housing market recovers I just do not see how we will have large increases in enrollment ?? Now I am sure there will some small changes but when we compare the cost of living in here and in Connecticut in general with other towns and states, I just do not see any future rush to move here.
Ride the lightning March 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
John F - The DRG is based on four variables (income level, education level, occupation and family structure). An additional three variables (poverty, home language and district enrollment) are also used to compute DRG. All variables were based upon families with children attending public school.
Ride the lightning March 21, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Monroe taxpayer - there was a surge of 17 or so students into JH this school year. They were absorbed into the system without hiring additional staff. It works both ways.
Thesaurus March 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I wonder who from within the BoE staff is supplying all of this very specific data? Maybe the super himself?Or,someone nearby?
Steve Kirsch March 21, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Just go to the state's web site and read the material. Lots of good information.
Rapture March 24, 2012 at 09:19 PM
As an employee of FH I can say we do use buckets to catch the water in the gym; however, do you think children can play safely or use the entire gym when a giant, industrial garbage can is sitting in the middle of the gymnasium catching water. The short answer is no, and then for as long as it takes the students have no PE. If weather permits gym class can be held outside, but we seemed to have the most leaks during last year's snow and all the melting that took place. So good news is the leaks only seem to happen in severe cases, and as long as the problem is addressed and fixed, nobody should have to worry about the safety of our town's children.


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