No mold found at Portland's Longfellow School

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PORTLAND — Testing at Longfellow Elementary School found there is no mold present, according to the School Department.

Xavier Botana, superintendent of the Portland Public Schools, said last week that ceiling discoloration, which was first publicized by members of Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, was actually “attributed to ambient and traffic dust.”

While expressing relief the discoloration was not due to mold, Protect Our Neighborhood Schools said in a press release that “the physical conditions at Longfellow after decades of neglect are shameful.”

The group is advocating for passage next week of Question 3, a $64.2 million local bond to renovate and upgrade four the city’s elementary schools: Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot and Reiche.

Meanwhile the Better Schools, Better Deal group, which is supporting Question 4, a $31.6 million bond to renovate two schools, doesn’t disagree that something needs to be done to update the four schools; its argument is how to best pay for the work.

Under the lesser bond amount, city taxpayers would pay for renovations at Lyseth and Presumpscot, while continuing to hope the Maine Department of Education will provide construction money for Longfellow and Reiche.