CHSD board says it’s responding to North High School issues, parents disagree

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Central High School District board members announced at its May 14 meeting that district officials have been working to address North High School’s cleanliness issues since students brought up their concerns in March.

“I am confident that our district is doing its best to provide a clean, safe and secure environment for all students and staff in our district,” Superintendent Bill Heidenreich said. “As a district, we will continue to monitor our building conditions as we have always done and address any issues that may arise.”

The students reported in March that there was mold in the school, overflowing garbage cans and an "unidentifiable substance" in the science classrooms. At the Tuesday meeting, however, Trustee Toni Pomerantz said that she walked through the school and does not see those problems.

The district also sent more cleaning crews to the school in April, and Heidenreich said new roofing, lights, ceilings and classroom doors were installed as part of the district’s $41 million bond, which was approved by voters in 2016.

But parents said more needs to be done. Valerie Koches said “there are tons of pictures” of “mold, leaks [and] disgusting filth that these children are living in every day,” and that “North High School is not reflective of where we live.”

Lori D’Andrea said that for years, the district administration has done nothing to address the issues at the school, and said she wants the board to recognize that she and the other parents are adults who will be voting on the district’s $121.2 million budget on Tuesday, “which by the way is not going to happen because we’re angry.”

Additionally, Joseph Romeo said that he and several other parents had the opportunity to walk around North with district administrators following the Easter recess. He said he made it a point to view room 319, a science laboratory that many students reported having maintenance and cleanliness issues, including a broken eye wash. Romeo asked Heidenreich what he saw in the room, and said that he recalled seeing sinks with mildew in it and a science teacher saying that she could not use a Bunsen burner for two years due to a lack of gas.

Some parents suggested creating an ad-hoc committee comprising students, and implored district administrators to show the public what has been done to address their concerns.

“If you want to have a fair shake on this, you need to show results,” said David Nadal. “If people can’t see the results, nothing’s going to change.”