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Updates on school mold possible Monday night

Halifax County School Board members plan to provide any updates on the high school mold issue when they meet tonight at 6 in the second floor public meeting room of the Mary Bethune office complex. 

The mold problem first arose at the end of the July after an anonymous tip surfaced saying mold was in the girls’ locker room and in the A wing of the building, according to Director of Operations and Maintenance Larry Roller. 

Prior to the tip, the roof replacement project at the high school had gotten underway this summer. During that time the school disconnected its exhaust fans, which was a contributing factor to the mold growth along with the wet weather, said Roller.

Since attention was called to the mold problem at the high school, staff has cleaned all vents, affected tiles have been replaced, and dehumidifiers have been placed in the vents and girls’ locker room. 

In an effort to determine what degree mold is impacting Halifax County High School, HDH Technical Inc. of Christiansburg inspected the school last week inspecting air quality inside and outside the building.

The mold issue was discussed further at a special called school board meeting last Wednesday with the help of John Owen who offered his expertise on the subject as well as guidance to a solution. Owen said he inspected the building prior to last week’s meeting. 

According to Owen, the main problem is the school’s “HVAC system does not adequately remove water.” 

Owen suggested it needs updating. 

School board members are expected to discuss Owen’s suggestions as well as hear results of HDH’s testing at tonight’s meeting.

 “The results of the samples collected from Tuesday’s inspection are suspected to be back by the end of the week. It will then be analyzed. We’re hoping to have a report to give to the school board for Monday’s meeting,” Roller said.

In other business, Division Testing Coordinator Nancy Zirkle will reveal the Federal Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).

Halifax County school students posted gains in 12 Standards of Learning test categories, but showed poorer performance than last year on 22 test assessments, according to 2012-13 SOL scores released last month by the Virginia Department of Education.

The new annual measurable objectives replace the annual yearly progress rating used under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

 Two recognitions also will be given during tonight’s meeting. Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph and Halifax County Middle School Faye Bruce plan to present recognition in regards to the 21st Century 2013 summer STEM academy. 

Chairman Kimberly Farson is expected to present the Virginia School Board Association 2013 Media Honor Roll and Finance Director Jay Camp will present the financial report. 

School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon plans to present the board with the Virginia School Board Association resolution supporting the Opportunity Educational Institution lawsuit.

During the 2013 General Assembly session, legislators mandated the Opportunity Educational Institution Board take over the supervision and operation of local schools that have been denied accreditation and to take over any local school that has been accredited with warning for three consecutive years.

The school board is expected to adopt a resolution tonight that states the legislation violates the state Constitution and usurps the role of local school boards in supervising and managing the schools.

If they vote to adopt the resolution, the school board will support the lawsuit brought by the Virginia School Board Association and Norfolk City School Board to declare the legislation unconstitutional.

Also slated for adoption tonight is a VASS resolution concerning high stakes in standardized testing. 

Director of Secondary Education/Student Services/Accountability Frosty Owens will bring the board’s attention to the possibility of dual enrollment classes being taught at New Beginnings.  

Prior to adjourning, board members are expected to go into closed session to discuss personnel and student discipline.