Arnold Elementary Parent Seeks Petition to Rebuild School
Her petition would get the reconstruction project rolling quicker.
A parent at Arnold Elementary School has organized a petition to get repairs done at the school higher on the priority list.
Kerry Petz has two children at Arnold Elementary School, lives nearby, and is the chairperson of the Citizens Advisory Committee. She's become one of the people parents turn to when they have an issue with the school.
The biggest problems facing the school are flooding and mold when it rains, Petz said.
"It's built on the side of a hill, so half the school is underground. We have terrible flooding and mold in the basement," she said. "We have to run humidifiers all day, every day, to keep some sort of acceptable moisture level."
The school system uses a priority list to determine the order for schools to get construction funding. Arnold Elementary is scheduled to be replaced with an entirely new school, but that wouldn't come until 2016 going by the current rate. If the county funded the school system's requests each year, the school would have already been completed, Petz said.
"Because they never fund the budget in full, we keep getting pushed back year after year."
The petition Petz is circulating online asks school and county officials to fund a feasibility study for construction at Arnold Elementary School. While it's not asking for the full amount, she said this would be the first step in the overall process.
Tammy Williams, one of the first to sign the petition, said it's not the fault of educators that the building problems persist.
"Arnold Elementary is a wonderful school with exemplary staff and leadership. However, the building is less than acceptable. Our children and staff deserve to learn and work in a healthy environment," Williams said.
Petz said she knows that other schools have issues. Edgewater Elementary School parents made a big push this year by showing up in matching T-Shirts to draw attention to issues of mold at the school. But Petz said shows of force like that don't address the root problem- getting the county to fund schools in full.
"Everyone feels they have to fight hard for their school because the conditions are only getting worse, and nothing is changing. We have to come together collectively as schools and go before these bodies," she said. "If they put the money where it's supposed to be we wouldn't be out there screaming every year."