District Hires Environmental Firm to Test Middle School
In response to a Nov. 20 TBR News Media article that uncovered that the Northport-East Northport school district was in violation of laws governing petroleum bulk storage, district officials announced at the Dec. 12 board meeting that they found a new bus depot and refueling location.
“We have found an alternate location and the resolution would allow the school board to enter negotiations to finalize that work with Cavay’s [Building & Lumber Supply] on Brightside Ave.,” Robert Banzer, superintendent of schools, said.
Over the last several weeks, the district addressed its violations with the Suffolk County Health Department and officials there said that the site was reinspected without violations found.
A separate resolution unanimously passed that would allow the district to utilize the fueling facilities operated by the Village of Northport for its bus fleet and maintenance.
“We are still seeking other possible methods of fueling, including [reaching out to] some of our other municipalities. We have reached out to them and they are considering it, “ Banzer said. “By January we should have this [relocation] in motion, if not sooner.”
Other highlights of the meeting include the board approving the subcommittee’s recommendations in hiring PW Grosser Consulting, a Bohemia-based environmental firm to begin framing a soil testing plan for the Northport Middle School. The firm would recommend soil testing parameters to the district beginning sometime in January.
The subcommittee members said that the firm could come do an initial walk-through of the building as early as later that week and would do other work throughout the winter break when students aren’t in school.
The announcements were made just days after students were again evacuated from several classrooms in the middle school after children were overcome by fumes.
A parent of a middle school student who spoke at the meeting said that children should be moved out of the school while testing is being done.
“We are very concerned, we need an answer ourselves on how this [testing] is going to happen,” he said. “The safe alternative is that they [the students] leave the school, and you do your testing.”
Subcommittee member Lauren Handler said as a group they haven’t discussed that as an official topic but agreed that the kids shouldn’t be in the building when they don’t know if its safe.
No vote was formally conducted on that issue.
State and county health officials have stated that the school board has jurisdiction over air quality at the school and not health officials.
The subcommittee plans to meet each Monday, beginning Jan. 6 or 13 of next year.