Election Section

Commentary: Fence-Fixing Foolishness Is Costly For BUSD By KARL JENSEN

Friday June 17, 2005

I live in North Berkeley near Hopkins street. I observed Berkeley Unified School District personages cleaning up and repairing a school yard at Hopkins and Josephine street over the Memorial Day weekend. I commend them on their efforts to work both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, but question some of their actions. 

On the Hopkins Street side of this school yard, the fence is dilapidated and supported with 2x4 lumber to keep it from falling down—and yet, these same BUSD personages repaired the interior of this fence—very nicely I would add—but did not repair the fence on the street side, or repair the fence posts so the fence may stand on its own without support. Why repair the interior of a fence, that must have cost close to $1,000 for wood and labor, and yet is in great disrepair and will founder under the slightest wind against this fence? I inquired and was told this was a temporary arrangement as the fence would be replaced within a few months time with a chain-link fence! So again, why spend $1,000 to repair a fence that is to be torn down and replaced entirely? This is ludicrous and someone in the BUSD administration is lacking brain cells! Is this the kind of school district we want? To repair and spend money on a fence that is to be torn down, to pay for weekend (overtime) maintenance/gardener wages, to see these persons waste their time?? 

If this is how the BUSD management runs things, perhaps we should have a new management in those offices on MLK Way!  

Furthermore, I do not believe it is wise to replace this partially repaired fence with a chain-link fence. There are small children in that yard, and such open visible exposure to the street might be unwise. Since half of this same fence is repaired—the interior side of the fence—why not replace the fence posts and exterior street side—and this would cost less than having these same personages spend another (overtime) weekend to remove the old repaired fence and replace it with a chain-link fence.... this is utter stupidity in my opinion to spend such money and time only to tear it down and replace it entirely. If this kind of management thinking occurs throughout BUSD, no wonder our schools need more money, as they throw it away like the weeds they removed from this same yard.... 



Karl Jensen is a Berkeley resident. n