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GIRARD Prospect is now open



Published: Mon, August 27, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A judge ruled last week that the elementary school could reopen today.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Many parents who escorted their children to Prospect Elementary School this morning have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

Today marked the first day of school for Girard pupils. Judge Peter Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court gave the go-ahead last week for Prospect to open.

About 50 parents had asked that the judge halt the school opening, concerned about their children's health because the elementary is connected to Girard Intermediate School, which remains closed because of health concerns.

The parents also have filed a $30 million lawsuit against the school board.

"I'm a little concerned, but we're going to give it a try," said Marcie Dukes, who brought her daughter, Kayla Plant, 6, for her first day as a Prospect first-grader.

Kayla has asthma and suffered some problems with the ailment during the last school year after two years without any occurrences.

Previously closed: Both Girard Intermediate and Prospect Elementary schools were closed May 1 by the board, but Prospect reopened three days later.

The intermediate school remains closed with pupils shuffled to Tod Woods School and the high school. Superintendent Joseph Shoaf said a time frame hasn't been established to reopen the intermediate school.

Attendance numbers weren't available late this morning.

Shoaf cited tests by Girard Board of Health, Ohio Department of Health, and Clayton Group of Akron, an environmental testing group, that showed no problems with the building, and Judge Kontos' ruling as reasons the school was safe to open.

Shoaf also pointed to Atty. Don Hanni's statements that the building should reopen for the first day. Hanni, who represents the parents, plans to get a company to conduct tests at the school.

Children lined up to go into the first day of school, wearing bright new athletic shoes, backpacks and outfits.

Dan and Jenny Durkin brought their sons, Danny, 8 and Joey, 7, to school.

"I'm not real concerned," Mrs. Durkin said. "Most of the problems were at the intermediate school."

Brad McCurdy also said he isn't worried about his stepdaughter, Hayley Libby.

"She had no problems last year," he said.

Excitement: Hayley, 7 and a second-grader, said she was excited about the first day of school.

"She loves to go to school," McCurdy said.

But Cathy Russell was more apprehensive.

"She was very sick last year," Russell said of her daughter, Stephanie, 6, a first-grader. "I thought they would close the school, but they didn't and she has to go to school."

Stephanie missed more than 30 days of school last year and her mother thinks the problems with the school building contributed to the problems.

"She had her tonsils out and they said she had the tonsils of a 50-year-old," Russell said.

Bill Stephens' son, Noah, 6, didn't suffer any health problems last year related to the building.

"I'm not too concerned about it," Stephens said. "The problem was on the other side."

dick@vindy.com




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