Windows painted over at Lonsdale Elementary

Windows painted over at Lonsdale Elementary

The top windows at Lonsdale Elementary School were painted over to prevent glare on whiteboards, frustrating some school officials who said better solutions could have been found. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – A decision to paint over 40 glass window panes at Lonsdale Elementary School in an effort to prevent sun glare in certain classrooms has Lincoln officials scratching their heads.

Offering an explanation during Monday’s School Committee meeting, Chairman Joseph Goho said whiteboards used by educators at Lonsdale had been rendered ineffective due to the glare of the sun, which made it difficult for students learning virtually to make out what was on the board.

“Unfortunately, that resulted in the windows, 40 of them, being painted,” he said.

Goho said, “We understand why the decision was made, to reduce the glare so those boards can be used, but this is a temporary situation,” he said of distance learning during the pandemic, adding that the expectation of Lincoln school employees is that they consider the school their home.

“What we’ve asked is for teachers and staff to look at the school as their home, and I don’t think anyone would say if we had glare in part of our home that we’d paint the windows prior to looking at other solutions like blinds or window tint,” he said.

By way of an explanation, Facilities Director Armand Milazzo said the school’s custodians had initially been blocking the sun using materials that weren’t flame retardant.

When he responded to a work order to fix some of the material that had fallen, he realized it was a safety hazard.

“We took all of the material down because of that,” he said. “They suggested painting the windows and I said, yes, that’s not a bad idea, it’s easy enough to scrape off.”

Other than that, he said, the windows would have been left the way they were and the teachers would have had to live with the glare.

“That was the reason why we moved forward the way we did,” he said.

He said it would take three to four hours to remove the paint from the windows.

Milazzo said the paint can be removed, and that he’s exploring other options for more permanent solutions. The cost of installing blinds or tint will run anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000, he said.

Goho said the School Committee frequently asks the Budget Board for new windows, and asked that “there’s some thoughtfulness going into the decisions that impact buildings on such a permanent level” as it becomes “more difficult for the School Department to justify” those requests if this sort of situation becomes frequent.

Comments

Ouch. Paint seems extreme. They still make Glass Wax. Opaque, easy to remove as needed, and leaves the glass shining!

As a former student of the Lincoln Public Schools, I am left wondering if this is one of the strangest decisions made while being a part of the Lincoln community. I understand the need to make quick decisions in this very difficult time but this just seems absurd. This will more than likely result in taxpayers spending thousands of dollars to replace all of the windows when they are damaged by the scraping process. I am also left confused as to why Lincoln officials are “scratching their heads” when this is something they should have been briefed on. I hope that as we continue to navigate through this difficult time, we all put a little more thought into the actions that we take.

P.S. The budget board has no power over what the school committee does. The budget board provides a bottom line budget and the school committee decides how to spend that budget. If the school committee does not like what was proposed, a school committee member can offer a resolution for the town to vote on at the financial town meeting. Not only that, the school committee at times has spent more money than appropriated to them, leaving the town on the hook for whatever they spend. Using the budget board as a scapegoat over and over again is disrespectful to townspeople who volunteer their time for our community.

Who cares? Paint is cheap, easily applied and easily removed from glass with no special or new equipment required. With all the money we've had to spend to deal with COVID, why can't we be happy that something was done quickly to remedy a problem with children learning from home? Once distance learning is over (if it ever is) the paint can be removed and put back to how it was before.

There are some excellent commercial window tinting companies that I am sure would help. This needed more thought. Paint is not a great option. Tint would have looked better and still allowed natural light to enter.

How ghetto!!!! There are countless better solutions ... At least they didn't paint them some nasty color, with a brush (leaving brush lines) ..... OMG HAHAHA :)

This concern was delivered to the public by way of an agenda item at our Monday January 11th meeting. School Committee members had their chance to weigh in as well as taxpayers through public comment. Some of us weighed in. There wasn’t any public comment.

This gaffe is the sole responsibility of our Facilities Director. He knows it has to be fixed the right way and knows there’s no room to mess up the windows. Using razor blades are an effective and less abrasive way to remove paint off windows. The work was done by school staff with in house materials. There was no extra cost. There will be no extra cost to fix it. The rest of this debacle will be handled internally. We hold those who need it accountable.

As far as the School Department spending more money than appropriated by the Budget Board. This is false and is coming from a Republican townie supporter who is neighbors with a long-time townie Republican (nice guy) who is currently on the School Department. So, if people are going to come on here discharging things, at least let it be credible. What is disrespectful to townspeople is continuous attempts to mislead them to a one-sided agenda. What is 100% respectful to townspeople is to provide them facts whether they are good or bad. Example: the LHS add/reno project.

Townsfolks have nothing to worry about with any Lincoln School Committee member or any School Administration member. We are all unique with different skillsets. We agree to disagree but, in the end, we collaborate harmoniously together for the common good of our town and more. We may not see it the same all the time but the common respect and common good are aligned.

Lincoln School Committee Member
At-large

I am studying Political Science and plan to complete my master's degree in public administration in the next two years. I pride myself on my academic abilities, including academic honesty and research abilities. During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Valley Breeze first reported budget deficits at Lincoln Public Schools on April 18, 2019 in an article titled "Lincoln schools report budget deficits". The Valley Breeze mentioned the budget deficits once again on January 16, 2020 in an article titled "Lincoln schools face tough budget decisions". Two more articles were written one month apart (May 21, 2020 and June 11, 2020) that mentioned how the pandemic was helping Lincoln Public Schools generate a surplus to cover the budget deficit from the previous year. They are titled "Virus pokes holes in school budget" and "Savings from school closures may help close budget gap", respectively. These can all be found through the Valley Breeze archives system. The School Department was also required by state law to report to the Auditor General and Department of Revenue of the deficit and provide a Corrective Action Plan. This can be found on the website of the Auditor General.

If the school committee member was trying to out me as someone who listens to and supports townsfolk no matter what side of the aisle they are on, congratulations, you succeeded. I am a progressive Democrat, but I believe that no one should be disregarded just because they support certain politicians. Dragging in members of the town such as your colleague and (who I can only assume) my father is extremely disrespectful and unwarranted, especially from someone who is supposed to be representing everyone in Lincoln.

I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions. But at times, their opinions can be based on fallacies. Like in this case, we have a known townie Republican (Trump right) now claiming to be a Progressive Democrat (Putin and Bernie left) who is getting a Master’s Degree in Political Science. He’s also stating to be skillful in academic honesty and research abilities. This is confusing to say the least. This gentleman is coming out against the School Committee spreading misleading information. Example: “Not only that, the school committee at times has spent more money than appropriated to them, leaving the town on the hook for whatever they spend.” The School Committee does not spend any money, we approve expenditures. We ask questions too. Not many townspeople know what School Committee members do on the back end to assure School Administration is being fiscally equitable and responsible. There are other factors that may create shortages in our budget. Example: millions of dollars of medical claims we weren’t anticipating. Catastrophic claims can be a huge challenge to any budget.

Speaking about Pride. I pride myself on the work I do. Admittingly, I can be strong sometimes which I put it in my literature to voters never misleading them when I started this journey in the Summer of 2016. I’m direct and genuine when I conduct my business. I never privately or publicly provide false information or mislead townsfolks in any way. This is the same with any town project. I have one agenda and it’s for all here in town and not one Party. I believe my innate ability to effectively balance the needs and wants of all stakeholders and not one group has done me very well.

I will “out” any townsperson who comes out publicly in an attempt to discredit me or any public committee I'm a part of because I'm a witness to the hard work and dedication we all put into it. I took an Oath. I take it seriously. I will go to the end in situations like this, it’s no joke. It may be disrespectful to those who see things from the left or right. For those who see things from the middle or from the sky, it’s wholesome and pure.

Lincoln School Committee Member
At-large