CHESHIRE, Mass. — Heating issues in the gym at Hoosac Valley Elementary is forcing pupils to wear their coats during physical education classes or move the classes elsewhere.
The heating system was just one of the problems that Superintendent Robert Putnam walked the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee through earlier this week that are expected to top $30,000.
He said the gymnasium heating system continues to be an issue and although it was thought to be fixed irregularities persist.
"The heating system was working after recent repairs, but the unit has once again failed," the superintendent said. "Adams Plumbing and Heating suspects the problem exists in the central unit of the system."
Putnam said Adams Plumbing and Heating will continue to troubleshoot but it is likely the system will have to be turned off for possibly two weeks.
The school lost heat
during the Arctic blast in early January when dust from repairing the roof over the boiler room clogged the boilers filters. But the heating system in the gym was working properly at the time, making it the warmest room the school.
Putnam said another priority project is the gymnasium's exterior staircase that the district will have pay up to $9,500 to shore up.
"That means they are going to strip off everything ... on it so they can really see what the concrete below looks like," Putnam said. "To see if it possible to fix at all."
Other projects include an unsecured chimney, portico repairs and upgrades to the fire alarm system.
Putnam did say the stage lift for handicapped accessiblity has been installed and will be ready to use after an architect approves the project.
This maintenance work, which includes repairs made after the heating malfunctions, will run the district almost $32,000.
In other business, Putnam said he was disappointed in the low response rate from parents on a school district survey despite extending the survey an extra three days.
"I tried to get as much as I could, and I don't know what else I could have done to get it out there," Putnam said. "I had expected 1,200 responses."
Some months ago, the district invited parents to take school specific surveys to help gather input on how families felt about the changes that happened in the district this year after the closing of Cheshire Elementary School and the consolidation to the former C.T. Plunkett and Hoosac Valley High schools.
Hoosac Valley Elementary School had a 41 percent response rate, the middle school 28 percent and the high school, 27 percent.
Elementary Principal Michele Colvin thought the numbers in keeping with the past.
"That is the typical response when we send things out," she said. "We get an average between 35 and 50 percent."
School Committee member Stephan Vigna said he expected a better rate at the middle school level with so many parents vocal about sending fourth- and fifth-graders to the high school.
High School Principal Christopher Sposato agreed.
"Response rate usually lessons as students get older, but I thought we would be closer to the elementary school," he said.
Putnam said he partially blames low family engagement in the school district and noted it is something they need to work on.
"Our job is to figure out how to get people more engaged, so they will do these things and I think that just takes time," he said. "It is something you have to build with folks."
Putnam said what information he was able to gather will be put into a report that he will bring back to the committee. He said the report will be used to inform the rest of the school year and the fiscal 2019 budget.
Chairman Paul Butler said even though the response rate was low he hopes it is a good representation the entire district.
"These are disappointing numbers but hopefully it is a good cross-section of the entire district," he said.
Before closing, the School Committee appointed Adams representative Vigna and Cheshire representative Adam Emerson to the Superintendent Search Committee.