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EA School Board Meeting Ends in Argument

School directors discuss maintenance, repairs to high school

By Dianne Ribecca
The Tube City Almanac
October 18, 2023
Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

Parents of an East Allegheny School District student allege that four other pupils attacked their child at a bus stop, causing personal injury and property damage — and that the students involved were related to school board members.

The accusation, leveled at the Oct. 9 school board meeting, resulted in an intense confrontation between district officials and the parents, who were removed from the room by school security.

District Solicitor Dan Beisler warned the parents not to name the children who are accused in the incident, while District 2 School Director Courtney Verner vehemently disputed the accusation.

North Versailles Twp. police were called to the meeting but the situation was resolved outside.

The confrontation happened during the public comment portion at the end of the meeting.

In other business, American Building & Maintenance Co.was back for a repeat visit to inform the school board of necessary repairs that should be done to address problematic roofing areas on the high school and failed mechanical equipment, as well as optional upgrades that could result in energy cost-savings.

The ABM engineers who walked through and evaluated the structural integrity and the state of the mechanical assets of the high school provided a report on their findings.

According to ABM, infrared testing found two areas on the high school roof where water infiltration was prevalent and that those areas are concerning.

The infrared scans found damaged, wet insulation underneath the roof and throughout the building. They also reported that the water infiltration from the roof has also caused a deterioration of masonry joints and cracks in the structure of the building.

The engineers also found that 110 out of 159 mechanical assets important to the operation of the high school received letter-grades of D or F. A “D” grade means the asset is at the end of its useful life and could fail any day, while an “F” grade means it is failing or inoperable.

According to ABM, 70 percent of the buildings exhaust fans have completely failed, affecting indoor air quality, and a boiler-feed pump in the system designed to heat the cafeteria and kitchen areas does not always start as it’s supposed to.

Verner disputed that there are health issues with indoor air-quality in the building. Air-quality testing is done regularly to verify that the conditions are safe, she said.

The engineers reassured the board that the exhaust fans’ failure doesn't necessarily mean health concerns such as bacteria or contaminates. However, the engineers said, the broken fans can negatively affect heating and cooling in the building, which can lead to people propping open doors to get more fresh air, and introducing security concerns.

Joseph Dilucente, newly appointed acting superintendent and former principal of Logan Elementary, welcomed the new Logan Elementary principal, Cara McKenna, during the superintendent’s report. According to her LinkedIn page, McKenna started her career as a teacher in Pittsburgh Public Schools in 2001 and has been the assistant principal at Logan for the past 10 years.

She started her new position in the EA school system on Oct. 2.

Dilucente also reported that bus safety equipment has been added to the buses. He said, “Buses are now equipped with special cameras called Bus Patrol. The buses not only have the stop sign arm that comes out of the bus, but we’re also able to take 360-degree panoramic shots of violators and automatically mailing citations to the violators.”

The next EA regular school board meeting is at 7 p.m. Nov. 13. The EA school board meetings are now being live-streamed and recorded on YouTube.

Dianne Ribecca is a freelance writer and a member of the board of directors of Tube City Community Media Inc. She may be reached at dmribecca@gmail.com.

Originally published October 18, 2023.

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