Brian Brice said the Van Buren Public Schools are going to be green clean – for the safety of students, staff, and the environment – starting now.
And, he is heading toward having the district certified as the only green clean school in Michigan through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Brice, school district Supervisor of Plant Operations and Services, presented a detailed plan to the school board at Monday’s special meeting and called his plan “Healthy High Performance Cleaning”.
It also was a detailed plan for use of the custodians. A precise chain of command is in place and Brice reports to School Supt. Tom Riutta.
He said last year it cost the district $75,000 in overtime for custodians and this year he has set aside $25,000 with a plan on how to keep the overtime controlled.
In beginning his study of what’s needed in the district, Brice said he had building audits done on custodial care in two buildings and found that they ended up very differently. He said the crews use the same equipment and products and so they should have been similar results.
That’s when he got to studying the situation and got into green technology.
He said standards now have been set and responsibilities assigned.
“We will be using microfiber rather than dust mops and HEPA vacuum cleaners,” Brice announced, explaining the kinds of more natural cleaning solutions that will be used. He said it cost $24,000 for supplies to get started, but that is already in his budget for supplies.
The schools have to be recycling and there are a lot of other specifications. It takes about two years to get certified, but “We’d be the only CIM certified school in Michigan,” Brice said.
“We’re going in a whole new direction. I’m excited,” Brice said.
“Thank you for making the change,” said Board Treasurer Martha Toth.
Later Brice said that he believed having green schools will attract parents to the district. Also, he said, the custodial department will become more valuable to the district if it is committed to green cleaning and less likely to be replaced by outside contractors, which is being done in some districts to save money.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board:
* Held a lengthy discussion on Ron Kosinski’s request for continued bus service for his children to Haggerty Elementary School, a short distance from his home. Because of the lack of sidewalks and the dangerous traffic on Haggerty, the late School Supt. Pete Lazaroff had promised Kosinski that his children would be transported to school, but it was not in writing. This year Kosinski was told that is no longer the case. After the board heard him out, they voted unanimously to continue to provide the transportation for another school year and reevaluate the situation next July;
* Approved hiring V-International of Southfield as the Belleville High School Security Firm at a rate of $11.40 per hour, lowest of five bidders, as recommended by Brice, who will supervise them. The agreement is for one year. Brice said the security officers, who dress in shirts, coats, and ties with name badges instead of standard uniforms, will work to keep the students safe from the construction, among other assignments There will be an on-site supervisor, Ray Bentley. Cost is expected to be $55,000 based on school days. The firm has experience with schools and two are retired Detroit police officers, Brice said, adding they plan to start off with four officers, but can go up to six, if needed;
* Approved the low bid of $1,146,700 from Esko Roofing & Sheetmetal of Shelby Township, lowest of four bids, as recommended by Paul Wills, Plante Moran CRESA. This was rebid for a different roof system than the first bidding and comes in $201,827 less than the original estimate. The $79 million project is running about $2.4 million under budget so far;
* Was advised of a variety of field orders which included $2,360 for asphalt work on Davis, $19,687 in temporary fencing, $3,050 in additional temporary fence at the varsity baseball field, and $12,826 for a 4” ductile iron water main to the administration building to replace the 70-year-old, 3” cast iron main that has snapped when equipment drove over it four feet above and cut off water to the administration building. The pipes will be in straight lines and a digital record made of where they are, said Sid Dotinga of Granger Construction;
* Was advised the fiber-optic cable has been cut again during construction. Supt. Riutta said the first cut may have been the fault of the district, but the next three times were the fault of the construction people and the district will be dealing with their insurance company;
* Approved the request of Business Office Manager Pam Smart to change the bills payable procedure to put all the bond transactions on one register and all the others on another register, so it will be easy to determine what is spent on the bond project. Also, the bills payable will be presented to the board for approval on the second and fourth Monday of each month, instead of just the second Monday, to avoid late fees;
* Approved the employment of custodians, at $13.06/hr., David Schultz, Edgemont; Ronny Brice, BHS; Lee Smither Jr., North and South Middle; and Delores Nadeau, Elwell;
* Approved an unpaid general purpose leave of absence for Deborah Nickell for the school year. She is a SMS building paraprofessional with 15.5 years of service;
* Approved the requested terminations of teachers Jennifer Bissell, ECDC/preschool, for other employment after 3 years of service; Stephanie Kerns, BHS, for other employment, after 5 years of service; Jason Hurst, NMS/BHS, employer terminated, after 5 years of service; and Diop Aguib, itinerant, resigned after 1.5 years of service;
* Approved employment of teacher Jennifer Masterson for BHS, salary $39,365; Carrie Parks, .8 occupational therapist, $45,292; and Katrina DeKleine, speech and language, $45,775;
* Learned the annual backpack giveaway by Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is on Thursday, Sept. 2, but only those who have been contacted know the time and place because of the limited number of backpacks; and
* Reminded the board of the 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 2, board meeting at the Administration Building to discuss goals for the district.