Several parents and children held signs that read “Save John Muir Elementary” in front of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District building after learning the school was closed due to mold concerns and termite problems.
“I honestly think the people running this school aren’t good managers, and I think something as simple as running a school’s facilities 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 decades-old water problem that led to mold. Pictures showed water stains on the ceiling of a classroom.
Termites were also found in the building.
“We have known for a number of years that there is an issue and we have taken various actions to address the issue,” said Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton.
The district hired a consultant who determined that the campus, which also houses the Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH), had not been properly waterproofed when it was built in the mid-1990s. They recommended major repairs.
Officials decided in May to close the school and relocate more than 300 students and staff to different schools elsewhere in the district — something many parents, like Jose Sanchez, found annoying.
“We didn’t know exactly where our kids were going,” he said. “As in my case, would he go to John Adams? Would he go to Will Rogers? Where do we have to go now?”
He and other parents are now worried about the school’s future and are urging board members to let them be involved in the planning process.
“Hopefully they’ll pay attention to us, fix the school or whatever has to happen to get it working again,” Sanchez said.
Construction of the school is expected to start in April. Officials also believe the school will reopen for the 2024 school year.