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Sun Prairie schools closed after mold found in elementary school
-- Staff Writer, Channel3000.com

Wisconsin: September 25, 2016 -- SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - All Sun Prairie schools will be closed Monday as the district conducts a mold investigation inside all its buildings, according to a letter sent to parents Sunday night. Mold was discovered at Eastside Elementary School, causing that building to close temporarily and shift classes elsewhere for the next few weeks. In light of that discovery, Superintendent Brad Saron said in the letter a district-wide inspection will happen Monday in all other buildings. Saron said in the letter that Eastside Elementary had experienced high humidity in the last two weeks that resulted in the mold development. While the mold is not toxic, the letter said the building will be shut down until it can be properly cleaned, which is expected to take 2-4 weeks. The school will be closed Monday and Tuesday as staff relocates classrooms to other schools in the district, according to the letter. Parents will be notified which school their students have been assigned to by Monday afternoon via email, text and voicemail. Before and after-school activities have also been cancelled, according to the letter. Parents had mixed reactions to the news Monday.

S.C. 'breaking the law' by ignoring poor schools
-- Jamie Self, Independent Mail

South Carolina: September 24, 2016 -- COLUMBIA — Valerie Williams remembers as a child being distracted by raindrops falling from the ceiling of the classroom in her Denmark elementary school. Today, more than two decades later, the 1950s-era elementary school still has a leaky roof. Its boiler overheats classrooms in winter. And, in the summer, air-conditioning window units buzz in classrooms while the tar-patched roof melts, sending black tar oozing earthward over the awnings. “When is it going to change?” said the 36-year-old Williams, whose three daughters — ages 17, 15 and 9 — attend the district’s schools. Despite promises to improve public education for all students, South Carolina’s GOP-controlled state government has not addressed the disparities between poor school districts — almost all in black communities and in Democratic areas of the state — and wealthy districts — most in white Republican communities — that have been decades in the making.

Elementary Students Work to Reverse Environmental Impact of School’s Construction
-- Danielle Nadler, LoudounNow

Virginia: September 23, 2016 -- Fifth-graders in Brambleton aren’t sugar-coating their impact on the environment. “We’re kind of the reason a lot of animals lost their homes because we needed a school,” 9-year-old Ananya said. “So it’s our job to make it right,” her friend Lailee chimed in. As part of a lesson in their life science course, students at Madison’s Trust Elementary School are learning about how the construction of their brand new school negatively affected the habitat of the native animals in the area. But they’re also learning how to reverse some of the damage. The students spent Thursday morning outdoors with Susanne Ortmann, Northern Virginia Programs Manager for the Audubon Naturalist Society. Ortmann, holding a grumpy-looking box turtle, broke some not-so-great news to the students: “The habitat for some of these animals—like the deer and the box turtle—has been disturbed.” The students were shown a picture of their school property before and after construction began. Before the work started, the property was lined with dense forest. Now, it is home to a large, two-story building, an asphalt parking lot, a grass field and track. But not all is lost, Ortmann assured the students. She helped them come up with ways to restore some of the animals’ habitat, such as planting native grass and trees and setting out bird paths.

Franchot, NAACP seek DOJ action on school air conditioning
-- Pamela Wood and Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland: September 21, 2016 -- Comptroller Peter Franchot and the NAACP are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the lack of air conditioning in public schools in Baltimore city and Baltimore County. In a letter sent Monday, Franchot and Gerald Stansbury, president of the state NAACP, said many of the students in schools without air conditioning come from low-income families. Studying in hot schools amounts to "a blatant neglect of their civil rights," Franchot and Stansbury wrote. "These students deserve to have the same educational experience as Maryland students who are privileged to live in more affluent communities," the men wrote. "It's time that these issues are addressed, and we respectfully hope you concur." The Department of Justice would not comment on the request Wednesday. Baltimore City schools officials defended their efforts to install air conditioning amid other pressing facilities issues, such as broken boilers and furnaces, leaky roofs and poor plumbing. "We manage our limited facilities and capital budgets to address prioritized student safety concerns," the school system said in a statement. "Despite these challenges, we are providing air conditioning in all new and renovated buildings under the 21st Century School Buildings Plan and are installing air conditioning on an accelerated timeline in other buildings across the city."

Johnson City BOE protests county’s school plans
-- COLLIN BROOKS, Herald & Tribune

Tennessee: September 21, 2016 -- Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge made a rare appearance in front of the Johnson City Board of Education on Monday, September 5 to address what he thought was going to be a series of updates on the capital projects that the county school system is planning. Instead, it turned into— at times — a heated discussion between some school board members and the Washington County mayor about the $0.40 cent property tax increase recently imposed by the county, $0.32 of which will be placed in a capital funds project for county use. Johnson City Superintendent Dr. Richard Bales summoned Eldridge, along with Washington County Finance Director Mitch Meredith, Johnson City Mayor Clayton Stout and Johnson City City Manager Pete Peterson to discuss the tax increase with the school board, however it was Eldridge that bore the brunt of the questioning during the almost one hour exchange. “There is a concern about the implications of the approach that the county is planning to take with that $0.32 cents from the recent tax increase that they are going to be putting into their capital projects account,” explained Johnson City Board of Education Chairman Dr. Tim Belisle to the Herald and Tribune a couple of weeks after the exchange.

Yancey board votes to close three schools
-- Julie Ball, Citizen-Times

North Carolina: September 20, 2016 -- BURNSVILLE - Yancey County school board members voted Monday to close and consolidate three community schools that had served generations of Yancey families. Bee Log, Bald Creek and Clearmont elementary schools will be consolidated into a single, new school to serve the west end of the county. “There’s nobody on this board that wanted to close those community schools. Our children went to those schools. My wife went to one of those schools. It’s very much a part of Yancey County," said Yancey County School Board Chairman Mike Orr. But Orr said the school district has no choice with declining enrollment and aging buildings and infrastructure. The school board voted in favor of consolidation at a sparsely attended meeting Monday night at Mountain Heritage High School. No one spoke during a public hearing on the matter.

Overcrowding still issue in Laramie County School District 1
-- Kristine Galloway, Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Wyoming: September 20, 2016 -- The addition of Cheyenne’s Meadowlark Elementary on the east side of Cheyenne improved the overcrowding in the elementary schools, but some students still are not attending their neighborhood schools. Part of the reason is the enrollment in Laramie County School District 1 continues to increase each year. Tracey Kinney, LCSD1’s assistant superintendent of instruction, presented annual enrollment information to the LCSD1 Board of Trustees at its Monday meeting. She said, “The conservative count today is 13,849 students across the district. Last year’s enrollment this time was 13,833.” Kinney said that increase is smaller than the increase the district has seen in the past five years, but she said the enrollment sometimes increases over the school year as well. She also said the number of students enrolled in the elementary schools increased by more than 1,000 students in the past five years. Kinney presented a slide that shows the enrollment growth in the district’s elementary schools over those past five years. It shows a population of 7,723 for the 2016-17 school year, up from 7,481 in the previous year. That enrollment growth is now affecting the junior high and high schools as the students grow older, Kinney said.

The man who helped bring historic school house to fairgrounds
-- Bobbie Hanstein, Daily Bulldog

Maine: September 19, 2016 -- FARMINGTON - The person credited with getting the historic Red School House moved for permanent installation at the fairgrounds was honored on Sunday. Ronald Pratt of Farmington, was applauded and received a plaque noting the accomplishment of saving and finding a location for the circa 1852 one room school house building and its large collection of artifacts, which can now be enjoyed by generations to come. Known affectionately as the Little Red School House and located in West Farmington, closed its classroom door in 1958. It was a trend at the time when many neighborhood schools closed as the new school district moved to consolidate into larger classes in the more modern facilities. Once closed, the Red Schoolhouse Museum Committee was formed by members of the Farmington and Wilton historical societies. They became the caretakers of the school building, which was situated on land owned and leased to them by JJ Nissen Baking Co. When the historical societies could no longer afford to pay the insurance to keep the school house open and Nissen was looking to sell the parcel at the corner of Wilton and Red Schoolhouse roads, a decision had to be made. "It was either find another location for it or raze it," said Susan McCleery Small, the volunteer director of the school house museum.

Parents launch effort to get new Towson High School built
-- Rachael Pacella, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland: September 19, 2016 -- Next year, Steve Prumo's daughter, Rosa, 13, will enter her freshman year at Towson High School; three years later his daughter, Sofia, 10, will follow, then Rafael, 7, and finally, Olivia, 4. Prumo said that's why he's a member of the steering committee for a new Towson High School, which is asking the Baltimore County Public Schools system to replace the existing facility with a new one that would be ready to open in 2022. This month, the effort gained steam and its members became more vocal with the committee's launching of a Facebook page called "Families for a New Towson High School." The committee also will hold an organizational meeting on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Towson branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. The existing school, which was built in 1949, is aging and deteriorating, said Prumo, a 1986 graduate of Towson High. "I walked around the school recently," he added. "If any parent were to see what that structure looks like from the inside out, [they] would be concerned, too."

New option in school building plan would give Akron six high schools
-- Colette M. Jenkins , Ohio.com

Ohio: September 19, 2016 -- The Akron Board of Education is on the clock, again, to secure state money to build the city’s final high school. “Since our last joint school board/City Council meeting in June, we have $4 million less that the state will fund because of projected enrollment losses … the board needs to decide in early October, which is now, where to build the final project with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission,” Superintendent David James told board and council members on Monday during a presentation at the Austen BioInnovation Institute. James shared a new sixth option (along with the same five presented in June) for moving forward. The sixth option would leave the city with six of its existing seven high schools — Buchtel, East, Ellet, Firestone and North would remain intact, provided they have no enrollment changes, and a new community learning center that consolidates Garfield and Kenmore would be built at the Garfield site.

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