CHICAGO (CBS) — Crumbling ceilings in the bathrooms. Standing water and leaky ceiling tiles.
It’s not a condemned building. Children are going to school there. Parents whose kids attend George Washington Elementary School said the school is in such bad shape, it’s making some of their children sick.
Candis and Matt Spencer have two sons at George Washington Elementary School: Cameron, 12, and Tyler, six. After school, there’s homework and headaches.
“The poor kid needs to come home and he has to sleep it off. And he’ll sleep about three hours,” said Candis Spencer. “And this happens about four to five times a week.”
The Spencers said the headaches only happen after their younger son has been at school. Many parents have the same complaint.
The parents blame the ailments on mold and other poor conditions at the school – a leaky roof, floors separating from the walls as well as heating and air conditioning problems.
“Every single spring the air-conditioning goes out. And the children are stuck in classrooms that are about 90 degrees,” said Spencer.
Simply put, the school, they insist, is falling apart. And pleas to the Chicago Board of Education, they said, are not adequately answered.
“About half of them go on answered. And when we do get them answered we’re told they are working on it and it will get fixed. What they do is they do band-aids,” Candice Spencer said.
According to the the capital budget for George Washington, just under $36,000 went for various work in 2018. When looking at CPS data, some schools got hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We’re just asking for a simple fixes to make sure that our kids are in a comfortable enough environment to learn,” said Matt Spencer.
For Washington Elementary Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) sees only one solution.
“Our long-term goal is we need a new school,” she said.
In a statement, CPS said:
“Improving school facilities and addressing pressing needs to ensure students have a safe learning environment is a district priority, which is why we are evaluating options to conduct additional site improvements to the school. While we work with the school community to determine the best course of action, the district will continue to address pressing needs to ensure students have a safe learning environment.”