PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Children at Reiche Community School in Portland were sent home with a note from the Superintendent’s office Thursday, informing families that there’s mold in the school.
The note from Superintendent Xavier Bontana says, "I am writing to let you know that we recently identified mold in a utility trench that follows the school’s footprint. We found the mold after we received staff reports of a musty odor."
Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, a non-profit organization of parents, educators and local business leaders, responded to the discovery.
“Coming right on the heels of finding mold at Longfellow School, learning that there’s also mold at Reiche feels like a one-two punch,” said Emily Figdor, director of the group, and a parent of two children at Reiche. “Make no mistake, this is a direct result of our city neglecting the schools for two decades, chasing a false hope that the state will swoop in and one day fix our schools for us. Enough is enough,” she said.
This November, Portland will vote on either a $31 million dollar bond to fix just the Lyseth and Presumpscot elementary schools or a $64 million bond to fix all 4 of the city’s elementary schools including the Reiche and Longfellow schools. Both reported mold issues within the last 2 weeks.
Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, a proponent to fix all 4 schools, claims the city of Portland hasn't made a major investment in its school buildings in nearly a quarter of a century ago when the City Council passed and voters approved a $14.8 million bond to renovate the city's middle schools.
In the meantime, Superintendent Xavier Botana said in the note to parents, “We identified the cause of the mold as a leaking water pipe in the trench. We have identified a vendor for remediation in the trench and the project will be completed in short order. There is no airborne mold in the building so I am confident that children are safe.”