The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

By Sean C. Morgan
Of The New Era 

Four instances of excessive lead found in SH schools


July 12, 2016

Testing has identified four locations at Sweet Home High School with lead levels above the maximum allowable, while all of 156 other locations throughout the Sweet Home School District were below.

Of the 160 test locations, lead was undetectable in 104 cases, new Supt. Tom Yahraes told the School Board Monday night during its regular meeting. Of the remaining, 52 were at levels below those mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water and four exceeded those levels.

Each location was tested multiple times, Yahraes said.

The locations that exceeded the lead EPA lead limits included a sink in the high school home economics room, an underground valve box in the softball field, a drinking fountain in the metal shop and an eyewash station in the auto shop, Yahraes said.

Once a location tests positive, the district begins more detailed testing to determine where the contamination is coming from, he said. The district is in that phase now. Upon completion of testing, the district will begin replacing parts in the water system as needed.

“We’re still, as a team, considering other water sources that we need to test,” Yahraes said. Staff members are looking for places where students may go and drink water.

The district began testing over the last month. Earlier this year, the Portland School District detected lead in schools across the area. Following that finding, the state government is working on new rules that would require testing at schools throughout the state, and the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority have recommended that districts begin testing.

“The Sweet Home team wanted to get ahead of this,” Yahraes said, “because it’s the right thing to do” and to get ahead of a mandate, giving the district time to adapt and make corrections.

Present at the meeting, which was Yahraes’ first as superintendent, were board members Angela Clegg, Chanz Keeney, Jason Redick, Chairman Mike Reynolds, Nick Augsburger, Carol Babcock and Debra Brown. Jason Van Eck and Jenny Daniels were absent.

In other business, the board:

n Re-appointed board officers for the 2016-17 school year. Continuing as officers are Reynolds as chairman; Redick, vice chairman; and Augsburger, secretary.

n Approved the hiring of Darren Perry, advanced math, SHHS; Peter Larson, social studies, SHHS; Duncan Tuomi, choir, SHHS; Toni Petersen, special education, SHHS; Rachel Sundquist, fifth grade, temporary, Oak Heights; and Elizabeth Wilks, language arts, SHHS.

n Accepted the resignations of Kortlin Mason, language arts, SHHS; Deidra Spencer, science, SHHS; and Elizabeth Sterling, kindergarten, Hawthorne.

n Adopted policy revisions governing student and staff complaints.


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