Parents hear air quality report at Montevallo Elementary - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Parents hear air quality report at Montevallo Elementary

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Shelby County school leaders faced angry parents Monday night. They're concerned about mold and other possible problems at Montevallo Elementary. An environmental consultant gave a clean-up update, but some parents are not convinced.

Even with crews cleaning Montevallo Elementary Monday night, parents packed the cafeteria with fears their children are not learning in a safe environment. PTO President Michele Gallagher says "I cry all the time about it. It breaks my heart and I don't know what to do. I'm struggling, they need to be in school."

Some parents are keeping their children home because of concerns about mold and asbestos. Mold was found in a 5th grade classroom in September. But even though clean-up is nearly complete, many parents are angry at the Shelby County School System. Parent Latausha Rhine says "I put my kids in bed and I lay on the floor. So, I feel like you all are doing your job because ya'll are in the bed and we're on the floor with our children." Gallagher says "I have no faith in the board because they have not been honest with us or did not answer any calls of emails."

Shelby County Schools Superintendent, Randy Fuller, did answer questions this time, saying he wants parents to re-build a trust with central office. They brought in an independent environmental consultant to give parents the facts. Bill Young, with ERG Environmental, says "Our air sampling indicates the school to be relatively clean. I think we found two marginal classrooms reported it to the school and they immediately had classrooms cleaned. Follow-up test indicate those classrooms are normal."

Young even said he would send his grandchildren to Montevallo Elementary, but even that statement didn't convince parents the situation is okay. Rhine says "Give us a new school." Shelby County School spokesperson, Cindy Warner, says "At this point, we do believe the school is safe. I know there are parents who have expressed concern tonight about whether it is or not and all we can do is continue to provide the details and experts to convince them.

Superintendent Fuller says Montevallo Elementary is included in the capital improvement plan to be renovated. The school system is expecting a report from the EPA about asbestos. The EPA says asbestos is contained, but more testing is being done.

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