Concern about leaking roof, mold at FMS
Mr. Davis addresses the concerned parents about F.M.S. repairs at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting
By Jean McLeod — Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
The March 5, 2013 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board Meeting was packed to overflowing capacity with parents wanting answers as to what is being done to fix Fillmore Middle Schools (FMS) mold and leaking roof problems. Every seat was filled leaving many of the parents crowded at the doorways and still more flowing into the hallway.
The leaky roof in the gym and classrooms has plagued the school for over three years and has continually worsened as mold grew creating a serious heath issue along with an unsafe area to teach. The parents of students who attend FMS approached the school back in early December 2012 asking what was being done to remedy the situation. They kept a record of inquiries and felt they were getting the run-around after a number of meetings and phone calls but no answers. Many showed up at the last Board Meeting on February 5th to directly address the Board and others whose responsibility it was to fix the problem. Another meeting was held at FMS on February 7th with Interim Assistant Superintendent Earl Davis present where he informed the parents via a translator, Norma Sanford, that FUSD was aware of the problem. He said as a precaution they would treat the mold in the gym with bleach, and that a FMS teacher had the areas tested. Davis then handed Sanford a camera to take close-up pictures of the parents who attended. Some parents found it disrespectful but didn’t back down, according to the written record kept. They came out in force, wanting answers at Tuesday’s Board Meeting.
Alyssa Calderon told the Board that she meets weekly with the other parents and no one from FUSD had informed the parents of anything that had been done so far, leaving them in the dark. Calderon told the Board, "I feel if it wasn't for our griping nothing would have been done, or maybe it would have.” Then added, "No one told anyone about the tile that fell and hit a student. Make us trust you if you really want to help." Calderon's husband Guillermo Calderon asked the council, "Who’s responsible for this, the builder? What action have you taken?” Then Calderon's son Julian, who is in seventh grade and plays baseball, basketball and football at FMS, spoke to the Board about how important having sports is to him.
One parent came with a list of requests for both the Board and Administration asking for; weekly meetings with Dr. Nishino (Interim FUSD Superintendent) Davis, and Mr. Maeda (FMS Principle), to assure that those responsible are held accountable; meeting minutes be available to school staff and parents of FMS in Spanish and English; the Board visit the site of the problems at FMS; FMS's classrooms be properly tested for mold spores for 1 to 8 hours exposure and the results made available to teachers, staff and parents of FMS students in both Spanish and English; teachers and staff be fully informed of the efforts and test results; and that parents be allowed full access to the high risk areas.
Davis responded by telling those in attendance that moving forward the roof will be completely replaced. He will meet this month with the chosen bidder, and the job will start in April. It will be done in two phases starting with the gym first and the rest done during the summer. Davis then introduced Nathan Seward, President of Criterion Environmental in Ventura. Seward has preformed and reviewed over 9,000 environmental projects including mold/bacteria investigations and is now conducting one on the gym and classrooms affected at FMS. Seward said the preliminary findings found that room D3 had slightly elevated mold spores but nothing in the dangerous range. Davis expects to have Seward's full results by the next meeting and will report the findings.
Guadalupe Garcia, whose child is in kindergarten at Sespe Elementary, spoke of her concerns with the amount of educational time lost feeding breakfast to the students in the classroom. "Don't take the time from teaching.....my son has his breakfast at home." She went on to ask if anyone had seen what the classroom looks like where breakfast is being served? Board Member Lucy Rangel replied yes, and Garcia continued, "I don't feed my children anywhere but at the kitchen table. Have you seen those classrooms? There's orange juice, cereal and fruit thrown everywhere."
Mary Ortiz, School Board Representative/Speaker of the House, gave updates on Fillmore High School activities. Senior Prom will be held on May 4th at the Valencia Hyatt, but the theme has not been chosen and the MORP (Prom spelled backwards) casual dance open to all students will be on March 16th. It was a successful Battle of the Sexes Week and students are wrapping up the Pennies for Patients Campaign for the Leukemia Society. The Juniors beat the Seniors at the Powder-Puff Football Game, and FHS is in finals with spring athletics getting starting: baseball, softball, track, boys volleyball, boys golf.
Something unusual and fun happened just before the meeting began. As a large group of people waited in the hall/entryway for the Board to finish their closed session, a small group of young people entered the building holding a bouquet of balloons and burst out "Congratulations to R. J. Stump for being Citizen of the Year." Stump was then handed the balloons and everyone applauded. The young lady who was in charge of delivering the balloons said Stump’s wife told her he could be found at the school board meeting.