There are but few certainties in this life: death, taxes, and ongoing maintenance on aging equipment and schools in the Santa Monica community.

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified Schools District’s maintenance and operations team provided an update to their goings-on at a Thursday, May 16 board of education meeting. Roosevelt Brown, Director of Maintenance and Operations for the district, led a presentation detailing his staff’s recent efforts.

The presentation included looks at M and O staff operations, pest management, work orders and upcoming projects.

Brown began by describing how M and O aim for maximum efficiency regularly, having monthly staff meetings and weekly evaluations of all work performed. Custodial staff will also be asked to partake in a morale survey.

Next, he discussed pesticide treatment at schools, which the district has been aiming to eliminate for years.

“Almost made it a full year without using pesticides,” Brown said, “but near spring break we got complaints about termites.”

Staff takes many steps to prevent toxic pesticide usage including better housekeeping of school grounds, glue and snap traps and usage of eco-friendly products.

Brown says to use pesticides, his staff go through a multi-step process: they talk to Superintendent Drati, talk to each school site’s principal, present the issue to the PTA and then get approval before pesticide usage.

His staff only used pesticides (Termidor and Precore 2000) once this year at four school sites, Samohi, Muir, JAMS and Franklin.

Brown went on to detail conservation efforts within the district.

Maintenance and Operations received $800k from the city to reduce water consumption by 20%. Brown noted that 85% of water used in the district is through irrigation.

To conserve water and ultimately save money, M and O staff installed a new cloud-based system that would allow staff to detect leaks, over-watering and other problems. The devices automatically shut off water during a mishap and send texts and emails to staff, detailing where the problem is occuring. Before this system, staff would have to rely on a complaints.

Additional conservation efforts included adding drought-tolerant plants to school sites, tree-trimming to prevent rodents getting on rooftops, and replacing groundskeeping equipment.

Noted in the presentation was that Brown’s staff completed 6,576 work orders in the 2017-2018 year with roughly have the orders completed within 7 days, a number Brown says he and staff will improve upon.

The presentation also showed Before and After slides of completed work orders within the district.

Tenovated restrooms, turf installation, restored roofing, replaced water fountains and more were shown.

Future projects for M and O include more roof restorations and water fountain replacements as well as more bathroom renovations. They budget their future goal needs at $3.9 million.

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