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District closes Santa Monica school because of mold and termites

Santa Monica elementary school closed for entire school year after officials find mold, termites
Santa Monica elementary school closed for entire school year after officials find mold, termites 02:02

Several parents and kids held signs that read "save John Muir Elementary" outside the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District building after learning that the school was closed thanks to mold concerns and termite problems. 


"I think that, truthfully, people that are running this school are not good managers and I think that something as simple as running the facilities of a school is difficult for them," said parent Miles Warner.

Warner and many other parents are frustrated after learning that John Muir Elementary School will be closed for the remainder of the school year due to a decade-old water problem that led to mold. Pictures showed water marks on a classroom ceiling. 

Termites were also found in the building. 

"We've known there was a problem for a number of years and we've done various interventions along the way to try to solve the problem," said Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton. 

The district hired a consultant which found the campus, which is also the home to the Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH), was improperly waterproofed when it was built back in the mid-1990s. They recommended that major repairs had to be done. 

Officials decided in May to close the school and relocate more than 300 students and staff to various schools elsewhere in the district — something many parents like Jose Sanchez found to be a hassle. 

"We didn't know for certain where our children were going to go," he said. "Like in my case, was he going to go to John Adams? Was he going to go to Will Rogers? Where are we going to have to drive now?"

He and other parents are now worried about the future of the school and are calling on board members to let them give their input in the planning process. 

"Hopefully, they will pay attention to us, fix the school or whatever needs to happen to get it back up and running," Sanchez said. 

Construction at the school is expected to begin in April. Officials also believe the school will be reopened for the 2024 school year.

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