Dear Pioneer School Community,
Based on information received during an investigation of an environmental hazard on property not owned or associated with any use or activity by Pioneer Union Elementary School District, the Kings County Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted tests for the presence of mercury at Pioneer Elementary and Pioneer Middle School.
The test conducted at Pioneer Elementary school found a minute trace of mercury in one location at the school. The minute level detected at Pioneer Elementary was at a level at which the EPA does not restrict occupancy in the area detected. However, the District will take extra measures to address the minute levels detected.
The tests at Pioneer Middle School revealed a very small amount of mercury present in isolated areas at the campus and that the levels present in these isolated areas are well within the range acceptable and does restrict the normal operations of the school. Nevertheless, even though the levels have been found to be well within the acceptable range, the district has been and continues to work with the Kings County Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency about measures to take that go above and beyond what may be necessary to address the issue. The district will then execute the identified extra-cautionary measures.
I want to assure you that it has been determined by the Kings County Health Department and the EPA that based on the test results, Pioneer Elementary School and Pioneer Middle School are safe and the district can conduct normal operations. Secondly, the district is committed to the health and safety of students and staff and will act on any extra-cautionary measures recommended by the two agencies.
Paul van Loon
Superintendent – Pioneer Union Elementary School District
The Pioneer Board of Trustees held a ground breaking ceremony on June 8, 2017. Pictured from left to right: Board Members: Denise Peters, Jack Soares, Jennifer Kuehn, Sarah Headrick, Phil Perkins, Superintendent Paul van Loon.
Pioneer Elementary School Construction Project
The Pioneer Union Elementary Pioneer School District began construction on a classroom building that will house eight classrooms at the Pioneer Elementary School located on 14th Avenue.
The project is funded from the Measure Y approved by the voters of the district in November, 2016. The project’s goal is to replace aging portable classrooms with permanent classrooms conducive to 21st century learning. Currently, nearly seventy percent of the students at Pioneer Elementary are taught in portable classrooms that are aging, ranging from thirty to thirty-five years old. Portable classrooms are intended to be temporary and generally must be replaced or upgraded over a period of time.
The construction of this building marks the first phase of a multi-year project. The timing of the next phase will depend on the release of State matching funds from Proposition 51. These funds may not be available for several years due to a backlog for state funding.