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GIRARD SCHOOLS Group asks court to oust board



Published: Thu, August 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Board of education members have acted appropriately regarding health issues, a board attorney said.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Girard citizens group is asking a judge in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to oust the Girard Board of Education.

Girard Concerned Citizens filed the complaint for removal Wednesday. It has been assigned to Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Attached to the complaint is a petition with more than 2,000 signatures.

Group members say they want the board to be removed because of its handling of health issues at Girard Intermediate School.

"We as parents were appalled that the school board and the former superintendent would act so casual about such a health issue," said Cathy Ross, GCC president.

What happened: The new building was closed in May because pupils, teachers and staff were getting sick. The administration has begun work to get rid of fungi in the carpeting and in the heating and cooling ventilation system.

The suit states that board members' failure to inform the students or teachers that the school was being tested is gross neglect of duty

The complaint also alleges a lack of communication with the public demonstrated a genuine lack of concern for the well-being of the pupils and teachers.

Response: Atty. Lou Damiani of Cleveland, who represents the school board, said the board acted appropriately regarding the health issues.

"This is the third court action reiterating the same meandering charges, and at some point they will have to prove their charges," Damiani said.

A $2 million suit filed last month seeks to halt the school administration from transferring Robert Foley as principal of the intermediate school to principal of the junior high school.

A $30 million suit was filed last week by some 50 parents whose children attend Prospect Elementary School, saying that school has health problems because it is connected to the intermediate school.

BettyJean Schlatter said Wednesday that her daughter, who attended Prospect, developed allergy and asthma symptoms last year. She said her doctor told her that her daughter's symptoms came from the school conditions.

Damiani noted that the Girard Health Department stated in a May 3 letter to the board that testing at the intermediate school was continuing and that "the problems that have been found to date are not dangerous or a health hazard, but need further attention."

The complaint also alleges the board was negligent by placing then-Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio in charge of the construction of the intermediate school. D'Ambrosio has since left the district for a position with Trumbull County schools.

The complaint notes that the school opened last September even though the sprinkler system was not completed.




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