NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A New Bedford councilman is asking the City Council to reconsider a proposal to build a new elementary school.
At a City Council meeting earlier this month, a proposal to build a new school that would consolidate two elementary schools, Congdon and Devalles Elementary Schools, was voted down.
“After that item failed a constituent reached out to me. It was a teacher at the school,” Councilman Joseph Lopes recalled.
The concerned teacher sent Lopes several photos from inside Congdon, showing mold on the walls and a dead mouse.
In a letter to City Council, the teacher said they made a big mistake voting the proposal down, claiming she often finds rodent droppings in the building. She said overall, those who work in the building are concerned for their health and the health of the students.
She also claims the conditions at Devalles are even worse than they are at Congdon.
“We all understand that we have very old schools in the city, it doesn’t matter if we’re in the south end or the north end,” Lopes explained. “But when somebody shows you what reality is it adds a new dimension to it.”
Lopes shared the concerns and photos with his fellow councilors. The matter was on the agenda for Thursday’s City Council meeting, but didn’t get to it before the meeting ended. Lopes said they will discuss the conditions of the schools again at the next meeting.
“I’m hoping the administration will reduce another statement of interest that was rejected, resend it and the council will look at it more favorably the second time around,” he said.
Principal of Congdon Elementary Darcie Aungst sent a letter to parents assuring them the students are learning in a good, safe environment.
“If my sons were elementary age, I would send them to Congdon,” Aungst said.
To reassure parents, Aungst said the New Bedford Health Department will conduct a walk through and address any concerns.
“You see the love and care we put into everything we do here and you see that we do the very best we can with our 112-year-old building,” she said in the letter.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for next Thursday.