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Cheney to spend $1.2 million fixing five school roofs


Several Cheney School District facilities will be getting some needed repairs soon.

At their first regular monthly meeting April 16, the Cheney School Board unanimously approved a pair of bids for over $1.2 million of work on the roofs of five district schools. Krueger Sheet Metal will be performing $315,971 of repairs to Cheney High and Betz Elementary schools while Arrow Roofing is doing $894,138 of work to Salnave, Sunset and Windsor elementary schools.

District director of maintenance, operations and safety Jeff McClure told the board both contractors have good reputations and while the district has never worked with Krueger Sheet Metal before, the Better Business Bureau gives them an A-plus rating.

In an email April 28, McClure said sections of the elementary schools roofs were not done during the last re-roof as they still had “life and warranty left in them.” Because roofs are expensive, the district tries to get the most usage out of them before investing in replacement.

“This would be the last of the large projects district wide for quite awhile, that will give us about 18-20 years before we have to talk about roof’s again,” McClure said.

The project also includes work on some vertical wall panels that have not performed as designed, with several failing. McClure said they will all be replaced “with coated metal wall panels with a 30 year lifespan/warranty.”

In business items, the board unanimously adopted policies for required holiday observances and the use of tobacco and nicotine products and delivery devices. Associate superintendent Sean Dotson said the latter contains revisions that now include use of nicotine devices such as patches, gums and lozenges.

The board held the first readings of policies for medication at school and alternative learning experience courses. The former is a re-reading of the revised policy passed earlier this year by the board, but incorporating new suggested language from the Washington State School Directors Association clarifying administration of prescription drugs or controlled substances by nasal spray.

Revisions to the alternative learning experience course policy were mainly language changes with the exception of elimination of minimum criteria for individual student learning plans. Student Support Services assistant director Shannon Lawson told the board the criteria were moved to the procedures section to improve flexibility.

“Programs change and emerge with the particular needs of the child,” Lawson said.

The board received an information report on the district’s bus fleet from Transportation Department director Paul Harris. The district currently has 65 buses, 57 of which are still on a depreciation schedule. Forty buses are on regular education routes with seven for special needs, eight for trips, three for use transporting homeless students and mid-day routes, four spares and three for potential growth.

The department has 47 route drivers, 20 substitute drivers and four mechanics. All told, Cheney buses traveled 656,398 miles last year, of which 548,462 miles were for regular student needs, 428,279 miles on regular education routes.

Harris said several challenges are accommodating special education program needs and transporting homeless students. The number of homeless students coming to Cheney schools changes daily, and has increased over the last two years.

The department is also facing challenges with fuel costs, which is a major expense each year. District fuel expenses rose between 2009 and 2012, but dropped to $335,082 in 2012-2013 from $360,525 the year before. So far this year the department has spent $231,430.

Harris said the department has cut down costs by stationing nine buses at Westwood Middle School, and benefited from the installation of GPS units, leading to better route efficiencies and ability to answer questions on arrival and departure times. They also help locating buses in emergency situations.

“If we lose contact, I can find it almost immediately,” Harris said.

Finally, the board recognized Kathy Conrath as the Cheney School District Classified Employee of the Year. Conrath has been with the district since 1990 in a variety of roles.

John McCallum can be reached at


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