The more than 100 parents who crowded into the Salt Lake Board of Education meeting room Tuesday night got part of what they wanted: a study to assess the safety issues and life expectancy of Uintah Elementary School.
But what the school board didn't give was a commitment on when it will decide the 78-year-old school's fate.The state fire marshal has cited the school for more than 30 fire-code violations and has threatened to close the school, 1227 S. 1500 East, if some problems aren't corrected immediately.
In the district's seismic study, Uintah was rated the worst of the district's 27 elementary schools for safety in a moderate to severe earthquake.
Superintendent John W. Bennion and the board easily agreed to the study that will assess if Uintah is salvageable.
But Bennion and the board members were uncomfortable with parental demands for a time schedule.
Parent spokesman Randy J. Green appealed to the board to hire the study consultant by Nov. 1 and then have the study completed within 90 days. The parents want a decision made on the aging school within the next few months so any remodeling or replacement of the building can be budgeted for the next fiscal year.
Board member Susan Keene said, however, it would be naive for the board - and unfair to other schools with physical-plant problems - to say it can decide Uintah's future by next June. Board members are already deeply involved in assessing the status of the district's three high schools because of the demand on the district to meet seismic standards. Any decisions must be made based on the entire district's capital needs, she said.
Board President Stephen G. Boyden, who was a pupil at Uintah and now represents the precinct in which the school is located, agreed with Keene, saying Uintah's fate can't be decided in isolation.