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March 12 Superintendent Thomas Shade reply
to March 9 William Burga letter

       

Thomas G. Shade, Superintendent
River Valley Local School District
1239 Columbus-Sandusky Road North
Marion, Ohio 43302

March 12, 2001

William A. Burga, President
Ohio AFL-CIO
395 Broad Street, Suite 300
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Mr. Burga,

I am writing in response to your letter dated March 9, 2001. I appreciate your letter expressing your concerns, however, I do believe that it is currently safe for all students to be on the school grounds.

From the beginning, we have demanded the information and professional advice needed to determine whether out students and staff were safe when they came to this campus for any reason. Safety has been and will remain our number one concern.

Similar to you, I am the stepfather of two River Valley school graduates and the stepfather of another who went through the eighth grade at this campus. Likewise, all but one of out Board members have children and/or grandchildren, nieces or nephews attending school daily on this campus. We remain confident that this campus is safe for students, staff and visitors on a daily basis.

If credible scientific data or evidence indicated that there was any 'immediate health risk' or 'long-term health risk,' we would take appropriate actions. However, the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Health and our own independent consultants have continued to examine the evidence provided by soil, air and water samples. What we have learned about the contamination is that, in some locations of the campus, we know that there may be health risks,; and we know that, in other locations, the tests that have been conducted do not establish a risk to human health. For this reason, we have restricted access and activities in the areas where, based upon these tests, there may be such risks.

Based on the weight of this scientific evidence, it is the opinion of all of these professionals that it is safe for the students and staff to be on the River Valley Middle and High School campus, as long as access to the areas that may pose a risk is restricted. It is for these reasons that permanent relocated of the schools is the best course of action for everyone involved.

Enclosed please find the most recent edition of our 'Voice of the Valley' regarding an environmental update that was sent to all residents of River Valley.

I hope this satisfies your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me at the Administration Office (387-4261), at home (389-6114) or by email (tom_s@treca.org).

We look forward to August of 2003 when we all will be in new facilities.

Very truly yours,

Thomas G. Shade
Superintendent

TGS:pc
Enc.

cc:
Mid-Ohio AFL-CIO
Marion Star newspaper
WMRN radio