School board vice president weighs in on Rochester Prep concerns

December 05, 2017 11:35 PM

The fallout continues after a News10NBC investigation uncovered the presence of TCE and other toxins in the building at 690 St. Paul Street -- it houses two schools.

Tuesday, a search of school board minutes showed commissioners discussed the problem as far back as 2009.

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"It just seems to me that it was unwise on the part of the board to enter into this contract for 15 years and giving this owner a million dollars a year," says Vice President Cynthia Elliott, Rochester Board of Education.

That was the reaction of Rochester School Board Vice President Cynthia Elliott when I asked her about 690 St. Paul Street where the district leases space for All City High School -- 100 students attend that school. Rochester Prep Charter School also uses the building.

"Even prior to entering into the contract there were staff and parents who contacted me about some of the health issues that were associated with being in the building," Elliott says.

Tuesday, students from the two schools rallied outside the building demanding answers. The students told us they learned from a News10NBC investigation, not school leaders, that the cancer-causing chemical TCE has been discovered in the building.

Elliott has been sounding the alarm about this building since 2009. We found minutes from school board meetings dating back to June 2009 in which Elliott raised concerns about the building's safety and demanding the board do something. But it appears her cries fell on deaf ears.

Tuesday night, the district's chief operating officer, Mike Schmidt, says students are not in danger.

"I think in this I've learned: 'Let's make our decision on the information that's in front of us... Work with the information that's in front of them,'" he says.

The district says there has been remediation in the building and regular testing and that students are not in danger.

However, the mayor said Tuesday she wants the students moved out of the building and into an alternate location to finish out the school year.


Lynette Adams

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