WUFT News

As Inmate Crews Clean Starke Elementary’s Mold, Students Begin Classes Elsewhere

By on August 27th, 2013
A mother walks her child out of Southside Elementary School in Starke Tuesday. Southside Elementary will temporarily house Kindergarten and fourth grade Starke Elementary students until Starke Elementary School is cleared of mold. Administrators do not know when students will be able to return to Starke Elementary.

Colleen Wright / WUFT News

A mother walks her child out of Southside Elementary School in Starke Tuesday. Southside Elementary will temporarily house kindergarten and fourth grade Starke Elementary students until Starke Elementary School is cleared of mold. Administrators do not know when students will be able to return to Starke Elementary.

STARKE — Recycled cardboard boxes have replaced fidgety schoolchildren for now in kindergarten classroom 203 at the vacant Starke Elementary School.

With toddlers at their ankles, teachers dictated which classroom materials would accompany them during their temporary stay at another school. Inmate cleaning crews hauled the items off to be sanitized.

While Bradford County students returned from a rainy summer ready to start the new school year Aug. 19, mold at Starke Elementary posed a setback for the school’s 500 students and approximately 60 employees.

Concerned teachers reported signs of mold over the summer while preparing their classrooms. Bradford County School District Superintendent Chad Farnsworth ordered an air quality test Aug. 5. On Thursday, test results concluded elevated levels of mold within the 16-year-old school.

Cleaning crews arrived Tuesday to begin the mold removal process. The school has been closed since the test showed positive results. Officials are unsure when students will be able to return to Starke Elementary, and no timeline has been discussed.

There have been no reports of teachers or students sick from the mold. No other Bradford County schools have reported sightings of mold.

The mold’s source has yet to be determined, although this is not the first time mold has been reported there. Bradford County School District spokesman Brian Graham said the school addressed several reports before with a cleaning process using hydrogen peroxide and bleach. This is the first time an air quality test has been conducted.

“It’s the right thing to do to err on the side of health and safety for these children,” Graham said.

Starke Elementary students began school at different locations varying by grade level on Tuesday. Pre-K will begin at Madison Street Baptist Church on Aug. 28. Kindergarten and first grade students will be redirected to Southside Elementary School.

Lawtey Elementary School will house first and second graders. Third graders will learn in Bradford County School District conference rooms and fifth graders will learn on a college campus at Santa Fe College Stump Building.

Bus schedules will remain the same. Buses will pick up children and take them to Starke Elementary where they will be sent off by grade level on buses to each respective school.

The school’s cleaning will be taxed on the school district’s budget. The district will foot the bill for additional transportation costs, air quality studies, attorney’s fees and architects and engineers working to keep the school mold-free. Graham said he did not know what the total cost would be.

“It’s not going to be a cheap process,” he said.

Eric Wright, a school counselor at Starke Elementary, said he’s remained positive during the school’s process. He said he looks forward to working with other schools.

“It’s been a nice way to get collaboration within the different schools in the district,” he said.

Correction appended: A previous version of this story said 30 teachers and 60 administrators were displaced by the mold problem. That information was provided by Bradford County School District and was incorrect. The total is closer to 60 employees.

http://storify.com/Colleen_Wright/starke-elementary-school-closed-due-to-mold


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Waiting for author to email caption w/ names

Eastside High School Culinary Team Wins Sixth Place In National Competition

Students of Eastside High School’s Institute of Culinary Arts competed in the National Prostart Invitational in Anaheim, California, hosted by the National Restaurant Association. The team came in sixth place.


**Tenley was emailed to verify that she made this. Credit it accordingly once she responds.**

Two Years After Grant Ends, Alachua County Schools See Little Improvement

Alachua County schools received a $2 million grant five years ago. Three of the schools that benefited greatly from the money haven’t seen much improvement in their school grades.


Students at Stephen Foster Elementary School learn the basics of nutrition education from retired University of Florida dietetics professor Dr. Pam McMahon. Kids in the Kitchen is a county wide program sponsored by the Department of Children and Families, UF and the USDA. Photo courtesy of Bailey Bruce / Foster Elementary Afterschool Coordinator.

New Program Hopes To Bring Nutritional Education To Elementary Schools

Stephen Foster Elementary School is the first elementary school to participate in Kids in the Kitchen, a program that teaches students about nutritional food options and food preparation. The program was started by Pamela McMahon, Ph.D., a retired University of Florida faculty member and registered dietician.


Screen Shot

UF Students Welcome Bill Proposing Tax-Free Textbooks

A new law in Florida could help students save money on expensive textbooks. The bill looks to eliminate the sales tax from textbooks to give students a break on the hundreds they already spend on required texts.


Students at Sante Fe College have opportunities to seek baccalaureate degrees in many areas of study. Santa Fe is one of 28 state colleges in Florida, which offer a combined 175 baccalaureate degree programs.

Four-Year Degree Limitation Proposed By State Senator Sparks Debate

Senator Joe Negron proposed to limit baccalaureate programs in Florida community colleges in a recent Senate Higher Education Committee. Santa Fe provost Ed Bonahue argues that the attention should be placed on enrollment, not the programs.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments