WUFT News

Funding Still Needed For Starke Elementary Repairs

By on October 17th, 2013
Starke Elementary's doors are locked after a mold outbreak that forced the school to close.

Shane Chernoff

Starke Elementary's doors are locked after a mold outbreak that forced the school to close.

Workers toiled inside Starke Elementary on Thursday to make sure the school is safe for students when it opens after spring break in 2014, following a mold outbreak.

Parents have asked about the possibility of rebuilding Starke Elementary School, which closed Aug. 23, instead of absorbing the $2 million for repairs, Bradford County School District spokesman Brian Graham said.

Construction of a new school would cost up to $30 million, Graham said, and that’s not in the budget. The district is still working to support the $2 million to fund repairs.

About $850,000 is still needed, Graham said.

“(Where the money will come from) has yet to be determined, but we will get the best deal for taxpayers,” he added.

The operation is on schedule and should have Starke Elementary’s students back in their normal classrooms by March 18, Graham said.

Following the mold outbreak, many of Starke’s students were sent to other elementary schools around Starke and Bradford County, including Southside Elementary School.

Southside Elementary Principal Lisa Graham said the transition, although seemingly daunting, was a successful one.

“The process was very efficient, it was within two or three weeks,” Graham said.

Southside Elementary currently accommodates most of Starke’s kindergartners and fourth graders, about 250 students. Southside Elementary had 600 students enrolled before the mold outbreak.

Starke Elementary’s office has been relocated to the Bradford County School District Building.

It was an unexpected move for first-year kindergarten teacher Natalie Whytsell.

“I changed a few things to make it more my own,” she said. “I wanted it to feel like my classroom. You only go to kindergarten once, so I wanted it to be the best that it could be.”

Starke Elementary kindergarten teacher Natalie Whytsell's new classroom at Southside Elementary School.

Starke Elementary kindergarten teacher Natalie Whytsell's new classroom at Southside Elementary School.

Whytsell said she gives credit to those at Southside Elementary for being so hospitable and that her students are finally settling in.

“They’re really welcoming, and we’re really fortunate for still being in a classroom setting,” she said. “We’re just really grateful.”


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

More Stories in Education

Students at Norton Elementary School wait in line as they're served dinner for the first time at school. Norton Elementary now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; Norton Elementary Serves It All

In addition to breakfast and lunch, Norton Elementary School now serves dinner to students enrolled in its after-school program. Dinner is currently scheduled to be served at 2 p.m.


Yes For Marion County Schools table at the Journey Into Reading event at Central Florida State College. The theme of the event was "seasons" and we were designated as "winter."

Amendment 4 Could Bring Back Marion County Teachers And School Programs

On Election Day, Marion County voters will vote on Amendment 4, which calls for the millage rate to increase. The extra money will go toward school programs and teacher salaries, potentially bringing back laid-off, first-year teachers.


Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.22.22 PM

New FCAT Replacement Test To Be Computer-Based

The new test set to replace the FCAT this March will be computer-based. Some educators are worried the test may be a disadvantage for students who are not used to working on a computer on a daily basis.


Dunnellon Elementary School's Maria Gonzalez helps her fourth grade students with classwork. She received the Excellence in Education Award earlier this month from Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Local Hispanic Teachers Receive Excellence In Education Award

Maria Gonzalez of Dunnellon Elementary School and Grisell Santiago of P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School received the Excellence in Education Award earlier this month. The annual award was sponsored by Volunteer Florida, the Florida Department of Education and the Executive Office of the Governor as a part of Hispanic Heritage Month.


Students from Idylwild Elementary School launch a water rocket at Flavet Field. Fourth and fifth grade students from Idylwild Elementary School visited the University of Florida on Oct. 30 to learn about engineering and other STEM-related studies.

The University of Florida College of Engineering Reaches Out to Elementary Students

University of Florida engineering students hosted a day of science activities on campus for fourth- and fifth-grade students from Idylwild Elementary School on October 30.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments