Parents concerned about maintenance issues at Wake County elementary school

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Parents at a Raleigh elementary school told the Wake County Board of Education this week they’re concerned maintenance issues in the school are impacting the health and safety of their kids and their teachers.

The parents of children at Durant Road Elementary School mentioned unreliable HVAC systems, black growths, damaged ceiling tiles, and broken sinks.

“One teacher shared this: the black growth and HVAC problems have caused me great issues with my asthma. I’ve had to see a doctor as much as three times in one month. I’ve had steroid shots and prednisone just so I could breathe,” said Heather Goode, a parent.

Collette Meador, president of the school’s PTA said, “You must keep our kids and our staff safe.”

Dr. Jim Martin, chairman of the school board, said the issues the parents highlighted are a concern across the district.

“The school system has been looking into that. In fact, we have quite a number of schools where there are quite a number of facilities issues that just haven’t been able to be addressed,” he said. “Furniture, carpets, plumbing, there’s quite a number of things that need to be done. How do we make sure these things get done in a timely fashion?”

CBS 17 obtained a copy of a letter the school’s principal sent to families earlier this month noting that WCPSS administrators recently toured the school to identify the various issues.

“We noticed the sour smell on the first-grade hallway. We discussed the HVAC system that was replaced four years ago. We checked one of the school’s 14 modular classrooms, as well as, classrooms along the third and first grade hallways,” wrote principal Janet Kehoe. “WCPSS Environmental Quality has conducted an air quality test in the first-grade hallway. There will be additional testing conducted this week.”

WCPSS spokesperson Lisa Luten said those tests came back negative.

“Overall, the school is in good condition, properly maintained and a safe place for students and staff.,” Kehoe wrote. “After looking in a modular classroom, we will have custodial services devote time to cleaning areas in all the modular classrooms around ceiling vents and the school has put in additional work orders for replacement of damaged ceiling tiles.

The parents noted the issues at Durant Road Elementary highlight a broader issue with school systems having enough funding to adequately address maintenance issues before they pile up and create unsafe conditions in classrooms.

“We will continue our advocacy efforts with the General Assembly and the county commissioners, as we know this is where we need to focus to get more funding for our schools,” said Meador.

Martin also pointed out the school system will begin a new process for identifying repairs and maintenance issues that don’t rise to the level of requiring major renovations and set aside funding to address them. That program, Partial Renovations and Improvement Projects (PRIMP), is slated to have $4.6 million in funding this fiscal year and increasing to $23.7 million in fiscal year 2026, according to WCPSS documents.

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