Eanes ISD ADA Task Force 2007


Parent Members' Minimum Recommendations for Immediate Priority

 Background

During the Eanes school board 2006 Bond Study Session in January 2007, EISD Trustees were informed of district ADA compliance violations “dating back to the 1990’s” that placed the school district at a “significant arena of risk for Justice Department intervention and/or constituent litigation.”  

In response to this, concerned parents of children with disabilities stepped forward to offer assistance in the district’s identification and prioritization of architectural barriers affecting people with disabilities.  Our unique perspective provides valuable subject matter expertise to the school district in helping identify those issues that affect teaching and learning, create safety concerns, and create discriminating conditions at our school facilities. 

Along with Eanes staff members, representatives of Broaddus and Associates and Fields and Associates, and joined by Registered Accessibility Specialists, we visited each campus to identify both technical and functional barriers at our schools.  Concerns of parents and instructional staff were added to the more than 1,600 technical violations identified by experts.   We have worked with Superintendent Dr. Nola Wellman  and Eanes staff to prioritize these issues for renovation and/or repair in this order:

  1. Top priority given to life safety issues affecting emergency evacuation
    and daily hazards.  
  2. Second priority given to segregating barriers that create discrimination
    against people with disabilities. 
  3. Third priority given to improvements in promoting independence in
    children with disabilities. 
  4. Other priorities are “wish lists” toward achieving universal access in EISD.


Because as a school district our focus is children, we have concentrated on issues affecting students.  However, it is essential to note that as an employer of more than 50 people, and as a public entity that receives federal funding, Eanes ISD facilities are subject to several laws prohibiting discrimination against all people with disabilities, including students, employees, parents, and visitors.  Therefore, it is essential to the legal safety of the district that we work toward universal access rapidly.

During this process, we have identified systemic issues that we believe lie at the root of the district’s compliance violations.  Administrative/program recommendations have been made to address these issues.

Architectural priorities were determined based on concerns for safety and barriers to inclusion of children with disabilities. 

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush cites the 1990 passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act as the proudest moment of his presidency.  Upon signing this landmark legislation which guarantees the civil rights of the disabled, President Bush said, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

As parents of children who live daily with physical, emotional, and mental challenges, we understand the power of both the ADA and President Bush’s words.  We also understand the random, unpredictable, and uninvited nature of disability.  We travel in a world that has shown us that no one is immune from the bad twist of a gene, the loose lug nut on the car in front of you, the missed landing on the gym floor, the wrong hit on the football field, or the random exposure to disease.  Disability can happen to any of our students, staff, parents, or volunteers at any time. 

We must provide accessibility for the same reason we provide for safety: not because of what has happened, but because of what might happen.  As a public school, we have an elevated moral imperative to do so.

On behalf of our children—and all children--we are honored to submit this report to Eanes ISD.

Respectfully,

Cheryl Fries
Michelle Lowe
Stacy Lyssy
Alissa Rayel
Thad Avery.

 Eanes Independent School District

2007 ADA Parent Task Force Minimum Recommendations 

for Immediate Priority

Submitted to Dr. Nola Wellman, Superintendent
November 16, 2007

1. Institute an Individual Emergency Evacuation Plan for any student who might be impaired by physical, visual, emotional, behavioral, psychological, auditory or sensory disability in an emergency.  Specific recommendations and National Fire Protection Association Guidelines attached.

2. Designate and name an ADA Coordinator, as required by law, who will be responsible and accountable for implementation of ADA Transition Plan.  Ensure that RAS Inspections citing violations in new construction are followed through with compliance.

3. In addition to emergency evacuation and other life safety improvements, budget and schedule for immediate repair/renovation under the current bond the following as highest priorities:

--All Schools:  Accessible restroom renovations to code.  Braille signage at offices and major common areas.

--WHS/9th Grade Center/WRMS/HCMS:  Automatic door openers at primary entrances/exits at all secondary schools.

--BCE:  Ramp section of staired hallway at back of school used as primary entrance/egress.

--BCE:  Ensure new playground meets ADAAG guidelines for accessible play.

--BPE:  Construct new playgrounds for all levels to ADAAG guidelines for accessible play.

--CCE:  Build accessible walkway to soccer field.

--CCE:  Curb cuts/parking to TAS standards.

--CCE:  Accessible routes to TAS standards to all buildings.

--CCE:  Renovate or replace portable buildings used for OT/Motor Lab.

--CCE:  Move or replace 19+ Facility: Explore off-site options.

--CCE: Upgrade playgrounds to ADAAG guidelines for accessible play.

--FTE:  Remove special education programs from “The Cave.”  

--FTE:  Ensure new playgrounds meet ADAAG guidelines for accessible play.

--EES:  Rebuild ramps to compliant slopes and install guardrails for safety.

--EES:  Construct new playgrounds to ADAAG guidelines for accessible play.

--VVE:  Install ramp to stage in cafeteria.

--VVE:  Upgrade playgrounds to ADAAG guidelines for accessible play.

--HCMS:  Replace stepped primary route to 8th Grade Wing with ramp.

--HCMS:  Construct accessible walkways to all sports fields.

--HCMS:  Repair settled concrete between buildings.

--WRMS:  Complete emergency evacuation route from Life Skills area.

--WRMS:  Build accessible walkways from school to all sports fields.

--WHS:  Replace stepped walkway from Commons to 9th Grade Center with ramp.

--WHS:  Life Skills classroom upgrades for accessibility.

--WHS:  Accessible seating all gymnasiums.

--WHS:  Bus lanes/drop-off access.

4. Establish a timeline, funding sources, and responsibility for continuing work toward achieving universal access and full TAS/ADA/504 compliance.

5. Establish a procedure to maintain user involvement in continuing compliance work.