Parents demanding repairs for leaky elementary school roof in Port Washington

PORT WASHINGTON, Long Island (WABC) -- At one Nassau County elementary school, some parents and students are saying "enough is enough" when it comes to a leaky roof.

They says their school's classrooms and hallways are littered with trash cans meant to catch water dripping from the roof.

"We have garbage cans lining our hallways," a parent said.

"I see the metal poles and the trash cans and I'm like, I don't like this," another said.

"It looks disastrous," yet another parent said.

Eyewitness News obtained exclusive photos of the inside of the Guggenheim Elementary School in Port Washington.

It has a leaking roof.

Parents tell Eyewitness News it's been going on for months.

"Should be taken care of right away. It's a health risk our children," said Jim Rafferty, a parent.

"We've had book shelves fall down, thankfully, while the kids are gone," said Melea Ermilio, a parent. "I'm not sure what has to happen to make this an emergency situation for the Board of Education."

Eyewitness News was able to exclusively obtain letters from the Superintendent and Principal which went home to parents.

They advise that repairs can't be done until the budget is approved next month.

Then the state Department of Education has to sign off on the plans.

That could take six-to-nine months.

"There's a flood there and there's a puddle here and the custodians have to come in and mop up a flood before the ELA state tests were administered last week, they had to go across the hall for a while until the flood on the floor could be cleaned up and then go back to their testing," said Meredith Tannenbaum, a parent.

"Our property taxes are so high here right now," said Sandro Blasolv, a parent. "They're supposed to be going to the schools, but it doesn't look like they're going to the schools at all."

The district says it's doing everything it can, and says students are safe and there is no mold growth. The Superintendent of Port Washington Schools Dr. Kathleen A. Mooney released a statement:

"Today the district's Director of Facilities had his pre-existing, scheduled appointment with a roofing contractor who has provided a plan to install an interim solution at the Guggenheim Elementary School where we have been experiencing water issues. This will provide a watertight roof with a lifespan of 3-5 years and the work will take place during school recess next week.

"In addition, continuing with the district's long term planning, the district will use funds from the annual budget to install a permanent section of roof. Operating costs grow annually due to increased enrollment and state mandates, while state and federal aid relief is minimal. In addition, the district is forced to work within a constraining tax cap, which forces the district to be financially prudent when funding projects that maintain our buildings and grounds.

"Following voter approval of the budget, the district is required by law to submit detailed information, including architectural plans and source of funds, to the State Education Department. These plans must be approved before we are allowed to begin any work on the area, as it is considered a capital construction project. We expect to be able to bid and complete this section of the roof this summer.

"As always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority and we are pleased that this issue is being remedied and will continue to monitor the situation."
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