School board hears details of mold testing report

SAVANNA — The West Carroll School Board heard the results of the mold testing done on three classrooms at the Primary School Oct. 9 and 10 during its regular meeting on Oct. 16.

Barry Lasko of All American Cleaning, addressed the board with a report on the testing done at the Primary School due to high humidity.

He said that dehumidifiers were placed at the locations and maintenance workers had noticed white spots on carpeting, though his team never witnessed these spots.

In consulting with superintendent Julie Katzenberger, Lasko said his team took air samples as a safety and precautionary measure, even though nothing out of the ordinary was seen or smelled by his team which are typical indications when the team is confronted with a mold issue.

Seven classrooms were reviewed, three were tested. Lasko said his samples are sent out to an outside lab where they are analyzed and a report is sent back.

Though all businesses and houses have mold, he said, it becomes an issue when the mold type is a particular type of toxic mold that shouldn’t be indoors.

Two of the classrooms had mold with readings “that were higher than what it probably should have been,” Lasko said. In consulting with the lab, they advised even though the readings were not terribly high, to go ahead and mitigate because a school is involved.

“That particular mold is not caused by ongoing water,” he said. “This particular mold can be tracked from the outside or brought in from the outside like a pumpkin or a fruit or a plant or on somebody’s feet,and get on the carpet and then with the humidity being as high as it was, it could have worsened it by getting airborne.”

He said the report stated that “these particular molds are not harmful for health with humans or for pets,” adding that this type of mold could interfere with allergies if the count is very high.

A third classroom tested had a mold that tested at a four, or underneath the “elevated” mark of five for this particular mold. However, this mold was caused by a water issue, Lasko said, and it was mitigated on that basis.

An apple with “tons of mold in the stem” was also found in this third classroom, Lasko said, “Now this isn’t something that’s going to harm kids,” Lasko added. “Unless maybe they have an allergy to that particular mold.”

After the apple was removed, the classroom showed no elevated or toxic mold in that room.

In response to an audience question about why other rooms weren’t tested, Lasko said: “Because these molds that we did really weren’t that bad and there really weren’t any health issues, it told me that there’s probably not something going on that’s actually putting it in the air and causing that.”

Lasko concluded by saying, “We did the worst of the worst, and didn’t find anything that was bad for kids.”

“Looking at the charts, there’s so much outside that’s being brought in,” superintendent Julie Katzenberger.

She recommended students have both indoor and outdoor shoes to minimize the amount of material brought in from other yards.

Audit

Jenny Blocker from Benning Group, LLC delivered the year’s FY 2019 Audit Presentation, telling the board that this year the district had received a score of 3.8 out of a possible 4.0, which was a slight improvement over last year’s 3.7 (this was due to going from having 146 days of cash on hand to 190.75).

Only one significant deficiency was found, which was not at a level that rose to a “weakness”; that being some items not placed in the proper columns. She noted other districts have the same issue. Blocker also said that the district needed to improve the documentation process regarding purchase order approvals, particularly in the transportation and maintenance departments.

The board also:

Approved a five-year renewal of the student driver education waiver, which allows the district to allocate the $250 registration fee for anything connected to driver education, including instructor’s salary and benefits.

Approved a student waiver residency that allows district employees that live out of the district to bring their children to attend West Carroll free of charge; this is also a five year renewal.

Approved a bid from Erickson Paving for seal coat work at the middle school for the 2019-2020 school year.

Approved two early graduation requests, from Abby Sedivy and Grace Johnson.