Chapel Hill parents, teachers concerned after video shows rainwater flooding school hallway

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Parents and teachers in Chapel Hill are concerned about deteriorating buildings in the school district after a video surfaced of rainwater flooding a hallway at Phillips Middle School.

The video taken by a teacher shows rainwater soaking lockers and floors in the school’s hallway.

Lisa Kaylie’s son attends school at Phillips Middle School. She was concerned after watching the video.

“It was not a small amount of water,” Kaylie said. “This was really gushing water flowing over school lockers and inside the school. It was kind of concerning to think if students even had their own possessions inside the lockers, they might’ve been destroyed.”

No one with the district would talk on camera on Thursday, but spokesperson Jeff Nash said the flooding was caused by a drainage backup. It has been temporarily fixed.

School board member Amy Fowler said Orange County gave the district more than $170,000 to permanently fix the issue, but she said they will likely need more to cover the cost.

Fowler said the district has 10 school buildings that are 40-60 years old and that funding from the state level could help pay for maintenance on these buildings.

“It’s dreadful for students to have to be in a school with that happening, knowing that their schools are decaying and deteriorating,” said Rep. Verla Insko said.

While Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature proposed a plan that would set aside $1.5 billion for school capital funds, that plan was vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper and a budget has yet to be passed.

Cooper vetoed the budget because it didn’t expand Medicaid. He said it didn’t include a high enough raise for teachers.

“If we can’t have a long term solution, we need to at least have money set aside for repairing these kinds of immediate emergencies,” Insko said.

Lawmakers will go back in session on Jan. 14.

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