The clean-up of a mold infestation at Hemphill Elementary School in Kyle, Texas, has made a substantial dent in the Hays CISD's piggy bank, to the tune of over $850,000. This financial blow hits after the district discovered a pervasive mold issue that spread through nearly the entire school building, affecting some 40 classrooms, as reported by KXAN.
Experts were brought in after staff noticed a moldy scent pervading the air, which prompted an air quality test that confirmed the school's unwanted guests. The walls, cloaked in moisture-trapping vinyl material, were quickly identified as the culprit. "The coating that they used to use on the walls, it’s pretty vinyl like material,” Savoy said. “So it traps moisture back in there. They cut all of that out to get the mold out." Tim Savoy, Hays CISD Spokesperson, revealed in a statement to KXAN. The tangible repercussions of this ordeal have rung up a costly tab, with mold remediation alone snatching $430,014 from the school district’s coffers—a hit not softened by insurance coverage.
But the fiscal strain isn’t the only repercussion the school district is grappling with; students now face a debt of learning time that Mother Nature doesn’t forgive. Savoy detailed to KVUE that the district is juggling its calendars to concoct a plan to recover the lost academic days. Tacking on extra minutes to each school day and converting staff workdays to class sessions are part of the proposed makeup strategy.
With the school's doors shuttered for seven days, the district served up a contingency plan that ensured their staff didn’t take a financial hit. Cafeteria workers, custodians, and bus drivers were among those who could have seen thinner paychecks due to the closure, but the district pulled out an emergency stopgap to guarantee staff pay, “We’ve done a lot during Snowpocalypse, for example, where the school was closed for five days,” Savoy told KXAN. Students, who missed a total of seven instructional days as per KXAN, are staring down a semester sprinkled with extended days in what could be described as a slight prolonging of their scholarly suffering.
Through all the turmoil, there seems to be at least one silver lining: no reported illnesses tied to the fungal invasion. Savoy assured there were no known complaints regarding sickness from the mold, although nurses were actively monitoring and prepared to respond to any health concerns from the school community, as he highlighted in comments made to KVUE. Thus far, concerned parties can take a modicum of comfort in the absence of health complications amid the district's expensive and inconvenient cleanup crusade.