Margola also said she was “manhandled” by a woman who asked where she was going and brought her to the office, grabbing her by the arm. Margola said was given a badge to wear and was told to remain in the library until the children were gone before she could leave.
Margola’s letter pointed out there were no notices posted on any doors or bulletin boards that said she was not allowed to enter and she felt humiliated by the incident.
The library is different from others because it can only be accessed from inside the school by three doors: one in the main hallway, one in the main classroom hub, and one that connects to a classroom. Fire code does not allow for any of the doors to be locked, and there is no entrance from the parking lot. This has caused the school a great deal of concern, as in the past people have tried to leave the library through the classroom exit, and all schools in Vermont must abide by the Vermont school crisis plan.
Readsboro Central School principal Michael Heller said that the Vermont school board of insurance recently audited the building’s safety and the number one issue was public access to the hub of the school through the library. “I know it’s a community library,” said Heller, “but we’re trying to work out what we can do to keep the kids safe, while still keeping it open to the public and it’s hard. When parents drop their kids off, we’re entrusted with their care and safety, and if they’re in the library at the same time as community members, there are policies and procedures there, but also moral and ethical responsibilities.”
Heller explained that in some instances, the school uses the conference room for special needs students who might need quiet, or one-on-one help with a test. When the conference room is being used, visitors to the library have to use the main classroom hub hallway to access the library and must have a badge, for security reasons and because while on school grounds, all visitors must be accounted for in case of a lockdown or fire drill.
“The intention (of these measures) is not to create problems. We need all hands on deck, because we have to follow the Vermont school crisis guide. That’s our part.”
Margola said that if the incident was because of security measures, the rules should have been posted as to what and why. She also said the conference room does not belong to the school and she should not have been barred from entering through that entrance.
Heller said the school and library are in the process of brainstorming to come up with a solution for problems like these. He also said Margola was not “manhandled” but was angry about having to wear a badge
In other actions, the selectboard reviewed drafts of a timeline for the request for proposal for demolition of three houses on School Street that were left uninhabitable after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene eroded the Deerfield River embankment behind them.
Town administrator Mark Shea presented the request to the board for consideration and possible approval at next week’s meeting. If approved on May 8, the RFP would then be advertised May 15, with a site visit for interested parties on May 22. The response deadline for bidding would be June 19, with bidding beginning that evening. June 26 is the proposed date for a bid decision by the board, with a notice to proceed July 1. As of that date, the winning bidder must complete demolition within 60 days
The 60 days would end on August 30, almost exactly two years after Tropical Storm Irene swept into the Deerfield Valley.
One of the homeowners in attendance, Mary LeMaire, expressed that the town should make a point of advertising in multiple news and online sources, to ensure the town has multiple bids. The selectboard agreed, and Shea said that he would check on rules regarding FEMA’s policies on salvaging material from the houses.
Another element in formulating a formal FEMA buyout through the hazard mitigation grant program was appraisal of the properties, calculating their estimated worth before the flooding. The appraisal numbers, calculated by a private appraiser, are then sent to FEMA to calculate reimbursement. While Shea would not provide numbers, he did say the appraisals were positive. “It makes it that much more optimistic going forward seeing the numbers,” said Shea. “It’s better than it was yesterday, but it’s not over.” Each of the three property owners will be reimbursed for the pre-Irene value with FEMA providing a 75% share and a community development block grant providing 25%.
Superintendent of public works Barry Howes reported that the road crew was beginning to work on roads that have dried out, as well as cutting back a ditch at the intersection of Collins Road and Freezing Hole Road that has caused the roads to get muddy. Howes said he had met with engineers to test a water line installed on the temporary bridge on Tunnel Street, and put scaffolding in for the sewer line. Howes also told the board the road crew was waiting on numbers for paving an upper section of Bosley Hill Road that is in poor shape from Shippee Road down about six-tenths of a mile.