The Westport Board of Education has come up with a plan for its students after hundreds were displaced due to an ongoing mold issue at the Coleytown Middle School.
Earlier this year, the middle school was forced to shut down for the year due to an ongoing mold problem. The emergency closure left the 450 Coleytown elementary school students and staff split between Bedford Middle School and Staples High School.
After three months of debate, the Board of Education voted five to two this week to make Westport’s elementary schools K-6 beginning next year, though they said they are open to finding a new location for a sixth grade “academy.” Under the plan, all seventh and eighth graders will attend Bedford Middle School.
One of the proposals included the consolidation of every middle school in the district into one school in Bedford, drawing the ire of some opposed to the “monster school.” The district’s Community Advisory Committee also rejected the proposal by a vote of 14 to 1.
The approved K-6 model has reportedly drawn mixed responses from educators and parents.
Officials said that the mold problem initially began in the summer of 2016, prompting an extensive cleanup plan that was scheduled to be completed before the end of the calendar year. However, complications - including the failure of the school’s air conditioning units — combined with hot, humid weather, caused the mold to resurface and spread like wildfire.
“When this mold issue was first identified in the summer, the district considered various scenarios in the event the building would not be ready for the start of school or available for some portion of the school year,” Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer said earlier this year.
The 450 Coleytown students will continue to be split between the Bedford Middle School and Staples High School for the rest of the year.
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