Employees move out of school board building because of mold

Published 4:00 am Monday, September 12, 2022

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VIDALIA, La. — The Concordia Parish School Board is having to relocate employees and seek remediation and testing of a mold issue at the board’s central office building on Carter Street.

After deliberating the issue in an executive session, the board took the advice of its attorney to temporarily close its office on Carter Street and move any employees housed there to other facilities as a precaution. Furthermore, they will bring in outside help to assess the mold situation.

Not having people in the building would also help expedite that process, officials said.

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In the meantime, employees of specific departments will be grouped together in other school board office spaces, including the media center, sales tax office, Vidalia High School and Concordia Education Center, Superintendent Toyua Bachus said.

It’s unclear at this time whether the mold issue will have any effect on the location of future school board meetings, she said.

In other matters during Thursday’s meeting of the Concordia Parish School Board:

  • Clerk of Court Andy Anders performed a swearing-in ceremony for Matthew Taunton, who was sworn to fill the District 5B seat. The seat was vacated last month by Nicky Pere, who also announced he has withdrawn from the upcoming school board election and made Taunton the only candidate remaining for the seat. Pere had previously won the seat in a special election against Taunton after former board member John Bostic retired in November 2021.
  • Held a public hearing regarding the proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which shows total revenue of approximately $60 million and a deficit of more than $2 million. However, CPSB’s Business Affairs Director Tom O’Neal said this fiscal period the board will have completed capital outlay project just over the deficit amount, including building a new gymnasium at Monterey High School. Board President Fred Butcher added projects paid for with COVID-19 relief funds cause a “distorted view” of the board’s actual budget. The board voted to table the budget until a later board meeting. The final budget should be passed by Sept. 30.
  • Voted unanimously to seek specs for installing a new roof on Ferriday Lower Elementary School and repairing the roof of Monterey High School so they can issue a request for proposals on both projects.
  • Discussed drainage issues around the new Monterey High School gym caused by rainwater flowing off of the gym and the school into the space between the two buildings, which could cause flooding into the school if not addressed, according to the project engineer Marco Gonzalez. The board authorized members of the building and grounds committee to visit the site and come up with the best solution.
  • Voted unanimously to advertise for a contractor to install air conditioning inside all of the school district’s cafeterias. New units were ordered years ago but were never installed because the school board deliberated on who would install them. During the wait, the estimated installation cost doubled from $36,000 to $81,000. “If we would’ve gone ahead and did this when we were supposed to, we would have saved $50,000,” Butcher said.
  • Recognized three Concordia Parish Academy students who earned a perfect LEAP test score, including third-grader Andrea Cooley and 10th-graders Meredith Black and Kailey Freeman.