50ºF

South San ISD acts fast to fix faulty heaters

School board votes to purchase new heating units

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SAN ANTONIO – The South San Antonio Independent School District school board wasted little time Thursday night in approving the purchase of over 170 heating components for seven schools that were recently found to have unusable heating equipment. 

The district inspected all the schools' HVAC equipment last month, but district leaders said they were just made aware of the severity of the problem.

"I found out that we had some heaters in bad shape late last week," said Superintendent Dr. Abelardo Saavedra. "I found out we had 174 Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. this week."

Before Thursday night's vote during the special called meeting, the school board called for an investigation into why the message took so long to spread to the top.

"There's going to be accountability and responsibility and if there's a hiccup, we need to fix that," said new board President Connie Prado. "We hold Dr. Saavedra accountable, he holds his staff accountable. So we have to wait and see what the findings are."

"These heaters didn't get in this condition in the last few weeks," added Saavedra. "Someone in our maintenance department must have known the condition of these heaters last spring, quite frankly last winter."

The new units will cost the district a little over $600,000, costs that Saavedra said are not affected by the timing of their replacement.  

Four of the schools, Madla Elementary, Kindred Elementary, Hutchins Elementary and Kazen Middle School, will receive new units installed by an outside supplier. Athens Elementary, Palo Alto Elementary and Price Elementary will have new units installed by district maintenance department employees.  

Most of the repairs will be completed by the end of Thanksgiving break, with the rest finishing up by Christmas break.

"All principals have an alternative plan should it get colder and should it not be as comfortable as it was today," said Saavedra.