Mom complains about dirty water fountains on campus at La Quinta High School

School officials say fountains in question are now being cleaned and repaired

Some concerned about dirty water fountains at LQHS

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Getting enough to drink is critically important here in the valley, especially with the hot days of summer fast approaching.    

But one valley mom is expressing concerns about her son and other students staying hydrated at La Quinta High School.

The is mother complaining about dirty water fountains on campus, and she says drinks sold from vending machines are too expensive.

One fountain in question was backed up with what appeared to be green algae covering the basin.

Other fountains near the practice field were brown and rusty.

Another was badly discolored and corroded.

Kelly hall says the thought of her 9th grade son drinking from the dirty fountains makes her stomach turn.

"I think it is deplorable that they allowed the conditions of the water fountains to get like that, for our students to have to drink out of," said Hall.

After her son told her about the dirty fountains, she asked him to take pictures of the half dozen or so he felt were cause for concern.

Hall posted the photos online, and she contacted CBS Local 2, asking us to stand for her, and all students at the campus, as part of her efforts to get things cleaned up.

We visited the campus and spoke with Assistant Principal Todd Biggert, who says campus janitors began cleaning and repairing the water fountains in question, shortly after the photos appeared online, and after we contacted the school district last week.

"There were a few of those fountains having issues draining, and because of that, water was settling in there, and it got some algae.  So those have been cleaned out.  We are addressing those needs, and it is a concern.  We are not happy about that at all and we know we can do better, and we are doing better with that," said Biggert. 

The Assistant Principal readily acknowledged the serious problems with the water fountains brought to his attention, and otherwise gave high marks to the roughly 60 other fountains on campus that don't have problems.

He said janitors are now in the process of cleaning and repairing the fountains that need it, and said just about all fountains on the campus should be cleaned and fully operational by the May 25th.

Any fountains that aren't repaired and running by the end of the week will most likely be waiting for parts.

"We apologize that the drinking fountains weren't up to our level of where we want things on campus for our students, and we are addressing those needs as we speak right now," said Biggert.

Kelly Hall is also concerned about prices for water and beverages from the campus vending machines.

Prices are $1 for a 20 ounce bottle of water, $1.50 for a bottle of Powerade, and $1.50 for a half-sized can of Arizona Iced Tea.

"I think that they should be more affordable for the kids.  What about parents who can't afford to give their child a dollar day?" asked Hall.        

In response to that concern, the Assistant Principal said he believes the vending machine prices for cold drinks are reasonable, and in line with what other students pay on campuses at other school districts in the valley.

Todd Biggert also noted that 20 percent of profits from the vending machines go toward paying for student activities at La Quinta High School.

"I feel for a 20 ounce bottle of water out of our vending machine for a dollar, I'd pay that anytime for my sons," said Biggert.

In a development Kathy Hall will be happy to hear about, the Assistant Principal told us the school already had plans in the works to install a free, cold water filling station in the cafeteria June 2nd, as part of its efforts aimed at making sure all students have enough to drink.

We are told school officials and custodial staff plan to keep a closer eye on the fountains.

"I want the water fountains to never look like that again," said Hall. 

The Assistant Principal also told CBS Local 2 that the school is down roughly two custodial positions as a result of budget cuts, but said the district is looking to re-fill those positions.

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