Posted: Sep 13, 2012 6:08 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News
Updated: Sep 14, 2012 7:26 AM
Living in an earthquake state, it's important all buildings are able to handle the big one. One school district in Santa Maria is working on making sure all of their schools are earthquake certified.
The Santa Maria-Bonita Unified School District said on Thursday that it's a lengthy process to be certified by the Division of State Architect. The DSA makes sure districts build buildings according to seismic standards. The deficiencies that can hold up a certification can be as minor as the wrong screw.
Santa Maria-Bonita Schoo District Board Member Will Smith has taken on this battle for years. He alleges the buildings at many uncertified schools are unsafe, and children should not be in them. He said the DSA told him the school district has not filed paper work to open the inspection of faulty buildings. But, the DSA told KSBY on Thursday that just because paperworks hasn't been processed does not mean it is not in the works. The DSA said they are waiting on paperwork from the school district regarding five schools.
"Our buildings are structurally safe, absolutely. We would not put students, staff, community members into a situation when we thought that harm could come to them," said Matt Beecher, the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services.
Smith said, "my main agenda is to see that this situation is properly addressed, and the Santa Maria-Bonita School District come up with a plan that the public is aware of to get these buildings certified as safe and to make sure our children are safe."
Smith also said the school board is hiding funds, which could be used to fix faulty buildings.
The school board said there are 12 schools left to be certified, but again, it's a time consuming process. They said their priority is making sure buildings are up and safe first, to get the children in class.
The San Luis Coastal Unified School District said two of their fifteen schools are not certified. They say they are working actively with the DSA on the matter.
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