BOE made right decision for Montevallo Elementary

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

To say the past weeks at Montevallo Elementary School have been dramatic would be an understatement.

After parents approached the Shelby County Board of Education in September about discovering mold in a classroom, both parents and the school system have been at work to address and solve the problems.

Admittedly, however, the search for a solution wasn’t a smooth path to tread for parents or school leadership. Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller has recognized repeatedly the breakdown in communication between the parents and the school system, and has apologized and worked to rebuild trust.

I have to admire the women of the MES Parent-Teacher Organization. Six women banded together to give a voice to the school, and have worked passionately and tirelessly to bring the mold problems to light. The PTO also held a meeting for parents to voice their concerns and discuss solutions.

Fuller and his staff, to their credit, took the issues seriously and dispatched clean-up crews and environmental specialists to locate and repair the source of the problems, as well as explain the process to parents and staff.

Fuller held an open meeting for parents Dec. 10. He, along with a specialist from air-quality testing business ERG Environmental, stayed more than two hours at the school to field the questions of concerned parents with concerns for their children’s safety.

After ERG Environmental reported additional mold in the school — mold that was still within safe levels —the Shelby County Board of Education made the decision Dec. 12 to shut down the school until it receives the “all clear” after the end of the year.

The BOE said Dec. 20 that the school would likely reopen Jan. 3.

At this point, I think the Board of Education made the appropriate move. This will hopefully help solidify Fuller’s verbal commitment to rebuild trust with parents and school staff.

Parents, school leaders and the community as a whole are hopeful the spring semester brings with it a healthy school building and renewed commitment to working together in the best interest of the students.

Christine Boatwright is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 16 or by email at christine.boatwright@shelbycountyreporter.com.