Board talks water, playground, and governor
by Lauren Harkawik
Oct 10, 2017 | 2851 views | 0 0 comments | 127 127 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new River Valleys school board, from left: Laura Sibilia, Dwight Boerem, Rich Werner, Barry Pearson , Kerry McDonald-Cady, and Rick Thorpe.
The new River Valleys school board, from left: Laura Sibilia, Dwight Boerem, Rich Werner, Barry Pearson , Kerry McDonald-Cady, and Rick Thorpe.
DOVER- The Dover School Board held a relatively short meeting prior to the first working meeting of the River Valleys Unified School District on Monday. Principal Matt Martyn gave the board an update on the school’s water system and gave a progress report about the school’s new pre-K playground. The board also discussed the governor’s recent visit to the valley to call the River Valleys Unified School District’s formation meeting to order.

The school’s water system was updated at the end of summer, delaying the start of school by a few days. In order for the system’s new tank to become fully operational, it needs to pass volatile organic compounds (VOC) testing. At the board’s September 18 meeting, Martyn reported that an initial test had failed, which at the time he said he had been told was not unusual for a first test. He also noted that drinking water in the school is not affected.

“The water is fine, and we’re using a temporary tank right now,” said Martyn. “We have to keep flushing and refilling until it passes, at which point we will put it back into service.”

At Monday’s meeting, Martyn said the tank had failed another VOC test. “They did trace VOCs to an exterior sealant on the tank,” said Martyn. “What’s happening is the sun is hitting the tank, it’s off gassing into the atmosphere, and then it’s going into our vent. That’s their theory. So we have sealed the vents to see if that will help.”

In the meantime, the state has awarded the school an extension on a temporary tank.

Martyn said the school’s playground committee had met with the designer for the playground, Matt Betit, who showed him several sketches and went over specifics for the project. Betit is a landscape designer for Grass Gauchos LLC in Burlington. “He’s actually a Whitingham native,” said Martyn.

Martyn said the playground should be finished by Thanksgiving. Board member Kerry McDonald-Cady, who joined the board after initial playground talks, asked what the pre-K class was using now, and was surprised to learn it was a collection of toys behind the school’s gym. “It’s actually kind of horrifying,” said McDonald-Cady. “It looks like the chicken yard.”

Chair Rich Werner said he initially didn’t realize pre-K needed its own playground. “And we were walking around and I said what is this? It looks like somebody dropped their garbage off,” said Werner. “So that’s why we’re building them a new playground.”

In other matters, Werner thanked vice chair Laura Sibilia for coordinating a recent visit by Gov. Phil Scott, who called the first official meeting of the River Valleys Unified School District to order. “It was a really good experience,” said Werner. “And we appreciate that it wouldn’t have happened without you here.”

At the meeting, students from Wardsboro and Dover gave presentations about their involvement in civic matters, with Wardsboro students highlighting their success in having the Gilfeather turnip designated the state vegetable and Dover students talking about convincing the town to change the Dover town seal.

“I hope we embrace as many opportunities for our kids to engage civically as possible,” said Sibilia. “I think there are too few, and I think it’s important. I’m so happy that these kids have a sense that what they do matters, and that their voice matters. They can make a difference, and even the governor of Vermont cares what you’re doing and what you have to say.”
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