I picked the wrong time to withdraw video coverage of Tuesday’s school board meeting. Two issues of great importance were addressed, one involving the health and safety of students and teachers (badly leaking classroom roofs and resulting mold); the other pertaining to salary and pension compensation for Dr. Alan Nishino, as “interim superintendent” on a full three-year contract.

I regret I left the meeting before former Fillmore Assistant Superintendent (Business) Mike Bush addressed the Board. The complete text of his statement can be found on page one of this week’s paper. Mr. Bush had sharp criticism for the Board’s handling of Dr. Nishino’s 2012-2013 contract. I met with Interim Superintendent (Business) Earl Davis Monday. He explained some of the confusion in the contract’s form, but we have not yet received the letter of explanation that was promised for this week. The Gazette has received several letters of concern regarding these issues and I hope this matter can be cleared-up as soon as possible.

Five speakers addressed the issue of serious structural problems with many classrooms and the middle school gym. Photos of water damage and buckets needed to catch the leakage in many rooms and in the gym were displayed. Ceiling tiles in all affected areas have been falling and a mold problem has developed. These problems require immediate correction. Repairs, because of the extent of structural damage (admittedly due to shoddy design) is expected to be very expensive. The board has stated that a survey of the damage and estimates of repair costs have begun. The Gazette will follow-up with this story as details develop.

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We have had two serious structure fires in the past two days. One involved a backyard trailer attached to a shed-like structure on Olive Street; the other was near the Senior Center. The fire near the Center was apparently ignited by someone walking on the path near the railroad tracks. It appeared someone tossed a cigarette or other burning material onto a leafy area beneath a palm tree. The tree ignited and spread to a storage shed. Sparks then spread westward igniting a boat on a trailer, which nearly burned down a small adjacent travel trailer.
Rest assured, Fillmore has the best volunteer fire department in the state! Our guys act quickly and they really know what they are doing.

Thanks to Rigo, Bill, Al and the whole crew.