Parents move to ‘stop locker madness’
As the academic year draws to a close, some parents of Nevada Union High School students are trying to head off a problem they say invariably erupts on campus the first day of class each fall.
The Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is trying to raise $100,000 to fund the installation of nearly 1,000 lockers so that every student is provided with a locker to store books and other school supplies.
According to Tina Skrukrud, facilitator of the committee, the fundraising is being done by sending “mailers to local businesses, e-mails to parents, (and) fliers to parents of incoming freshmen.”
“The district is behind us,” Skrukrud said, “and they will do the installing.”
Last fall, complaints about the shortage of lockers reached administrators when students who had chosen a locker before the scheduled time of 6:30 a.m. arrived on campus an hour later to find their locks cut off.
Those like the daughter of PAC member Laura Solano came at 6:30 a.m. and couldn’t get a locker due to the rush, and ended up sharing one with her friend.
In fall 2004, she said, the situation was worse.
“I came to get a locker with my daughter at 11:30 p.m. the night before the first day of school because if she came the first (day) of school there would be no lockers left,” Solano said. “That night there were seniors with bolt cutters. They cut the bolts off the lockers because they were saving a bunch of lockers for themselves and their friends. Other students were throwing water balloons – I got pelted with water balloons.
“There seemed to be a war over lockers and we were stuck in the middle of it.”
Marty Mathiesen, Nevada Union’s principal, said he was not aware of the community’s perception of the locker problem until this year.
“Right now we are evaluating strategies to deal with a couple of main goals,” he said. “One is delivering student schedules and the necessity for schedule changes – to prioritize those kinds of changes. And along with that, goes the distribution of lockers.”
Mathiesen attributed a lot of the “turmoil” to the sheer numbers.
The Parent Advisory Committee that meets once a month with Mathiesen has now started a “Stop Locker Madness,” campaign. The flier for the campaign mentions that people can donate $100, $300, or $600 to sponsor one, three, or a bank of lockers.
Donors will have their names mentioned on a plaque on the lockers purchased with their donations. The committee also intends to run a “Thank You” advertisement in The Union thanking the donors.
Some members of the community, including those who have expressed their wonder in letters to the editor in The Union, ask why thousands of dollars are being directed toward the high school’s football turf project whereas the locker issue is not being addressed.
“There are a lot of competing needs,” said Karen Suenram, assistant superintendent of business, at the Nevada Joint Union School District. “We have a limited amount of funds and we need to prioritize them. Our energy is going toward managing the ones (lockers) we have in a better way.”
Suenram said as a bi-product of the turf project, the school district was spending around $90,000 on an adjacent parking lot and working on field event areas for track and field competition at Nevada Union’s Hooper Stadium.
“The district money (provided for the project) is going to those two priorities,” she said.
Students like Bret Lowrey, a senior who does not have a locker and keeps his books in his car, the option of a new locker is always attractive.
“The locker situation is a problem at NU now, and any new ones are welcome,” Lowrey said. “Basically it’s much more of a hassle to get a locker than having one. There’s just such a limitation with the lockers.”
Mathiesen said that idea of fundraising came from the parents, and was not initiated by him.
“The Parent Advisory Committee decided to do that for the school,” he said. “I didn’t sit at a meeting and advise them to get money for the public. They felt that was a priority. To me priority was policy and procedure.”
To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4229.
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