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South Bay Union School District, which has nearly 100 buildings on a state list of schools flagged for possible earthquake risks, will finally assess whether or not those buildings can weather an earthquake, Imperial Beach Patch reports.
The decision comes after a joint voiceofsandiego.org-KPBS special report this summer found that only a fraction of the school buildings flagged in San Diego County had been reviewed, repaired or demolished nearly a decade after state experts first drew up the list. Engineers had cautioned that more inspections were needed to tell if the buildings were in trouble. But those inspections were rarely done:
That means that children go to school in about 200 buildings across the county where earthquake safety is still an unanswered question, the result of a long string of shortcomings in how California and its school districts have handled seismic safety.
Now South Bay is trying to answer that question. Patch quoted some school board members worrying that there was no money to cover the new inspections and arguing that the inspections weren’t really necessary:
“We already know that most of the buildings aren’t going to pass,” (school board member Nick) Inzunza said. “We’ve been told. Why do we need to have an inspector to come out and pay them a half million dollars to have a guy tell us something we already know?”
But the state agency that oversees school construction has repeatedly told school districts that the only way to know if these buildings really are unsafe is to get an inspection from a licensed engineer.
Is your school district getting its buildings inspected for earthquake risks? Please let me know! For more on earthquake safety in schools, check out the California Watch articles that spurred us to dig into this issue here in San Diego County.
Emily Alpert is the education reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. What should she write about next? Please contact her directly at email@example.com.
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