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East Helena PTO raising money for Radley Elementary School

Posted at 11:33 AM, Apr 24, 2024

EAST HELENA — Before two East Helena schools were vandalized this past weekend, the East Helena PTO has been crowd-sourcing money to help pay for one of two new boilers for Radley Elementary School.

“In order to make sure that that school is heated and that they can continue operating and that those kids and teachers are safe during our winter months, it's important to get that replaced,” says East Helena PTO member, Shasta Steinweden.

While the school district can cover one of the boilers, there aren’t enough funds in the budget to cover the second. The total cost they’re working towards is about $140,000. The PTO is matching funds up to $30,000. The school district was able to secure a $75,000 grant.

Dan Rispens, Superintendent of East Helena Public Schools, says that when the boilers, which are from the 1960s, were inspected about a year and a half ago, one was deemed unsafe to use because of a leak. He says that putting in new boilers is long overdue and necessary for student and teacher safety and comfort and to avoid the possibility of extensive damage caused by boiler failure in below-freezing temperatures.

“It's getting down to being a pretty major liability. If, for instance, we were on a long break, like a Christmas break, and the boilers quit working, and nobody was in the building for several days, you could have frozen pipes and other damage in the schools that would put us in a situation where we might have to close the school for several weeks before we could get it operational,” says Rispens.

On May 14, the PTO will host a bingo and raffle event at Missouri River Brewing Company where they hope to secure the rest of the funding so the boilers can be installed this summer. They also have an online crowdfunding website. They are also taking prize donations for their bingo/raffle event.