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

CFX8zb6WAAAbh3T

Alachua County Schools Receive $1.2 Million

Gov. Rick Scott awarded a $1,277,312 check to 20 Alachua County schools Tuesday at Stephen Foster Elementary School. The money is part of the Florida School Recognition Program which is giving $124 million to schools statewide.


A file photograph showing textbooks and empty student desks inside an Atlanta, Georgia school.

Community Leaders Sign Education Compact

Community, business, government and education leaders signed a compact aiming to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for students in Alachua County through collaborative efforts. The compact was signed on Monday by 21 people.


Debbie Powell consoles her grandchildren in wake of the decision.

Alachua County School Board Passes Rezoning Plan That Will Dissolve Waldo Community School

The Alachua County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to consolidate Waldo Community School with Shell Elementary School. The decision marks the end of a hard fought battle for Waldo to keep its school.


Bees

Beekeeping Certification Gives Florida Inmates Skills For A Second Chance

Seventeen inmates in Lake Butler will be the latest class of certified beekeepers from the the Reception and Medical Center’s Beekeeping Program. The Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Department of Agriculture created the re-entry program for inmates who were about to be released.


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.


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