GUSTINE - Three Gustine Unified School District campuses surveyed by a visiting inspector earlier this year got solid marks for the conditions of the facilities.
The schools, Gustine Elementary, Gustine High and Romero, also were found to have no deficiencies in instructional materials or in teacher credentialing the school board was told recently by John Magneson, assistant superintendent with the Merced County Office of Education.
He said a total of 25 schools in the county were visited in what are known as Williams Act inspections, which are designed to verify that students have safe, well-maintained facilities in which to learn, adequate instructional materials and properly credentialed teachers.
“I am very happy that they all came out well,” Gustine Unified Superintendent Bryan Ballenger said of the results. “There were no discrepancies and no (adverse) findings.”
Each of the three schools inspected were deemed to be in “good” condition, meaning that they scored between 90 percent and 98.99 percent.
No extreme deficiencies were detected at any of the sites.
Of the three campuses visited, the newest emerged with the highest marks in the facility inspection.
Gustine Elementary scored at just under 98 percent on the inspection.
Deficiencies noted by inspectors included playground fall material in need of repair, a chipped counter top in one classroom and a vent in need of repair and peeling paint in a second.
The Santa Nella campus scored just over 93 percent on the inspection.
Among the classroom deficiencies noted were broken cabinet handles and loose baseboard in one classroom. Three other rooms had a single deficiency, including a loose faucet, stained ceiling tiles and a hole in a wall.
Restroom deficiencies flagged included peeling paint in one, damaged flooring in another and rusting stalls in a third.
One unspecified playground deficiency was also noted.
The high school campus earned a score of just under 91 percent on the inspection to narrowly score in the good range.
That result, however, represents a turnaround from several years ago. Gustine High scored in the mid-70 percent range five years ago and was deemed in “poor” condition.
Ballenger credited Russell Hazan, the district’s maintenance director, and his crew for the improvements.
“They have worked extremely hard to make that happen,” Ballenger commented. “We are proud of that campus, but the school being as old as it is does pose a lot of challenges.”
Among the deficiencies noted at the high school campus were damaged ceiling tiles in multiple locations, lights out in multiple locations, chipped or missing floor tiles, damaged lockers, an eye wash station lacking water pressure, chemicals improperly stored, peeling paint and ripped tackboard.
All in all, Ballenger said, he believes the findings reflect well on the district and its facilities.
The importance of clean and safe facilities cannot be overstated, he added.
“You want kids to go somewhere they are proud of. They want to be able to look around and see nice conditions. Nobody wants to learn in a dilapidated building,” the superintendent commented. “When you are clean, you are a safe school and it lets parents and the community know that you are doing your job.”