As the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) for the 2016-17 school year prepares for its release, RHS will receive a “good” rating for campus maintenance and facility rather than the “exemplary” rating the school has received in past years. The new ratings come as a direct score from the Facility Inspection Tool (FIT) report compiled by RJUHSD Custodial Supervisor Chris McGuire last April.
In order for a school to receive an “exemplary” rating, they must receive a 99 percent average and possess minimal to no “deficiency” marks. This year, RHS was given a 96 percent rating compared to last year’s 99 percent. RHS received 25 deficiency marks for electrical systems which led to a drop in the final score.
Information gathered during the facility inspection is placed into 15 categories and condensed into eight separate groups. These groups are represented in the School Accountability Report Card, a state mandated report which focuses on student demographics, facility and school performance. A percentage rating for each category comes from the amount of school areas marked as being in “good repair” divided by the total number of surveyed areas.
In previous years, Director of Maintenance and Operations Kris Knapp conducted the report himself. According to Knapp, the FIT report is a “snapshot” of a school’s current conditions – primarily within the classrooms.
“We go into a room, we evaluate the impact to students, the overall environment and it doesn’t necessarily take into account cracked asphalt and things like that,” Knapp said. “It’s just the way the SARC is designed – it’s focused on the student learning environment.”
RHS principal David Byrd believes it is important that the report is published in order for schools to remain transparent with the public.
“[The SARC] is state-mandated because I think there’s a lot of schools that probably wouldn’t put that information out there and you should be required and held accountable to make sure you’re public with some sort of assessment of your school,” Byrd said.
While the SARC or FIT report might not discuss any longstanding projects, planning for such is discussed in terms of “deferred maintenance.” Deferred maintenance includes non-critical projects that are continuously examined but may not be completed until funds are allocated.
“The FIT is not a long term planning tool for our district,” Knapp said. “Our long term planning is our deferred maintenance. When we talk about HVAC systems, when we talk about roofs and we talk about roofs and asphalt and concrete, those are deferred maintenance and long term projects which don’t translate well into the FIT report.”
Knapp said the FIT report may act as a resource to prove a site requires funds for maintenance.
“[RJUHSD] through the FIT report has not qualified for any additional funding,” Knapp said. “The opportunity comes if you can show a pattern of need. You can use the FIT report as a resource to justify requesting funds from the state.”
Outside areas such as school parking lots and hallways are not evaluated by the Maintenance and Operations department, so the “Playgrounds/School Grounds” category of the FIT report is annually left blank and receives a 100 percent rating by default. According to Knapp, this is due to the “cumbersome” nature of the task.
“It’d be challenging to fit the outside areas into the FIT report.” Knapp said. “If we try to evaluate the outside because it’s not a standalone building with it’s own surrounding environment it would be difficult to even know where to begin or end.”
Knapp does not expect to issue a report regarding exterior surfaces nor does he believe it is necessary to do so.
“No one has requested one,” Knapp said. “We constantly evaluate our facilities and walk grounds and maintain our grounds to the best of our ability… no one has ever requested a specific report so we haven’t determined an outline or a structure.”
“Pest/Vermin Infestation” is one of the fifteen categories into which the FIT is divided. At the end of last school year, math teacher David Ray experienced a bird mite infestation in his classroom. As a result, Ray and his students relocated to a portable classroom across campus to finish out the school year.
“This happened one time before about ten years ago, the exact same scenario.” Ray said. “I love the room that I teach in but one of the quirks about it is it has the perfect little eaves for birds to nest in.”
None of the rooms evaluated in the 2017 FIT report were marked for deficiencies under Pest/Vermin Infestation. According to Ray, the bird mite infestations that have occurred in his classroom discourage him from believing in the FIT report’s accuracy.
“I’m not informed enough to say whether its exemplary or not exemplary but based on this example I can’t give it five stars,” Ray said.
Sophomore Austin Mays was in the classroom when students were told to transfer into one of the portables. Although the infestation occurred after last year’s inspection, Mays believes there should be a way to document the bird mite problem publicly.
“I think that [infestations] should be put in the report because it’s important if a school has an infestation. Everyone should know about it,” Mays said. “It shouldn’t just be left out.”
On the other hand, Ray thinks that this specific event is not considerable enough to display in a report.
“It didn’t seem so cataclysmic to me that this should be advertised or we need to make sure that this is documented in a big formal way,” Ray said.
Senior Kevria Shill has also experienced maintenance issues at RHS.
“There’s a lot of cockroaches and that’s really gross.” Shill said. “It’s kind of upsetting when you’re sitting in a class and you see a cockroach by your foot.”