With about three weeks left before classes resume, the Southampton School Board on Tuesday authorized approximately $100,000 in emergency repairs to Southampton High School after a mold problem was detected in two music classrooms.
According to Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina, the problem, which was discovered two weeks ago, has already been remediated, and both classrooms have been deemed safe.
The mold was found after custodians discovered a faulty air-handling unit—a device used to circulate air through the heating and ventilation systems. The rest of the school was searched for mold, but none was found in any other part of the building.
Contractors were brought in to clean the unspecified type of mold, which was caused from too much moisture circulating through the vents, and the unit was repaired. Both classrooms received new ceiling tiles and new carpeting, and all the musical instruments in the band room were cleaned and sterilized.
“Southampton Union Free School District has discovered an issue with mold in the band and chorus rooms in Southampton High School, and mold remediation was needed immediately given the health and safety nature of this problem,” according to the resolution passed on Tuesday. “In addition to the condition remediation, sanitizing of HVAC and duct work, ceiling and tile replacement, and painting of all walls are necessary to prepare the spaces for students and staff for September 2013.”
The district approved the project retroactively, as it was an emergency repair approved by Dr. Farina and already completed. The district is investigating whether insurance will cover any of the repair costs.
Also this week, the board discussed recently released state test scores in English language arts and mathematics, as well as for the science, math, English and history Regents, which were released earlier this month. As a whole, scores dropped even more so than expected with new Common Core standards.
One of the most dramatic figures presented was for the third grade class, where, out of 104 students tested, only 14 percent passed the state math test. In English, of 102 third-grade students tested, only 30 percent passed the state test.
Although district officials and board members said they were unhappy with the results, noting that in some grades and subjects a majority of students received the lowest possible score of “1” on state assessments, they also said they are working on individual plans for each of the three schools to improve test scores.
“We are not going to hide from the data,” Dr. Farina said regarding the low scores. “We have work to do.”
On Tuesday, the district announced that this fall School Board meetings will address each of the three schools separately, with administrators coming in and outlining plans for moving forward with the Common Core. Board members said they are dedicated to making sure the students are getting the best education they can receive and that the district does what it can for each student.
“I was shocked and horrified, and, really, I still have trouble looking at the data,” Board Vice President Donald King said during the meeting. “After eight years on this board and the thousands of dollars we have spent on various programs, it is really a shame. It is time to find a solution. We have done all of these things, and I don’t see the results—and that is disheartening.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but I don’t think it is all the Common Core.”