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FYI: Sen. Liston A. Davis Begins Fact-Finding Tours

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Feb. 2, 2005 — Senator Liston A. Davis, chairman of the 26th Legislature’s Committee on Education, Culture and Youth, Tuesday (2-1-05) began a series of fact-finding tours at public schools by visiting the Kirwan Terrace Elementary and Charlotte Amalie High Schools.
Senator Davis was greeted by Kirwan Terrace School Principal Whitman Browne, who informed Davis that the primary concern with his school was a dilapidated roof that leaks every time it rains. Principal Browne indicated that the problem affects the auditorium, kitchen, music room and library. Additionally, Browne told Senator Davis that when the roof leaks or saturated grounds seep into the building, water gets into the electrical system and cause power shortages, and the mold resulting from the moisture have affected many of the teachers.
Responding to Senator Davis, Principal Browne said he has documented the problems and forwarded correspondence to the superintendent on a monthly basis. Other problems noted by Browne included: a pump that have been inoperable for over 15 years; bathroom fixtures in need of upgrading; and the lack of a perimeter fence. Browne also requested that Senator Davis consider amending legislation to allow elementary schools the ability to directly pay substitute teachers as the high schools, rather than sending documentation to the superintendent office, delaying payment to those teachers.
Senator Davis observed that Kirwan Terrace School has the same structural problems as Ivanna Eudora Kean High School because they are from the same architectural design.
Senator Davis then visited the Charlotte Amalie High School, where he met Principal Jeanette Smith-Barry, who provided him with list of major physical plant concerns. Those concerns included: the library/media center being too small for the school population; vocational shops being in major disrepair; dilapidated trailers that need to be removed and replaced with usable classrooms; need for a grass cutting contract and
grounds keeping crew; necessary electrical upgrades to accommodate more labs and air
conditioning units; female bathroom in auditorium requiring major work; covering needed for track and field bleachers; removal of rotten platforms in classrooms; and extermination for termites and rats.
Assistant Principal Eric Blake Jr. showed Senator Davis the roof, flooring, bleachers and bathrooms in the gymnasium that are in serious disrepair; pointed out the areas where perimeter fencing is needed for the campus to be enclosed on the eastern, western and northern sides; requested major refurbishing for the old records room and preservation of old records; and noted the areas where more bars are needed to secure classroom doors and windows.
Barry indicated that what the school really needs is an on-site plant supervisor and maintenance staff to address all the structural defects and an adequate budget for repairs and maintenance.
Senator Davis ensured the principals that he and his committee will provide education officials with his findings in hearings after he concludes his fact-finding visits to all the territory’s public school, and hopes some resolutions to the problems will be identified.
Senator Davis will continue his fact-finding tours of public schools on Tuesday, February 2nd when he visits Bertha C. Boschulte Middle and Leonard Dober Elementary Schools on St. Thomas.

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