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West Vancouver/Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbeling is taking up the cause of School District 48’s "sick schools." "Here in School District 48 we have four schools suffering from the ‘sick building syndrome,’ affecting the health and safety of students and teachers alike, and all the Education Minister can say is ‘It’s the school board’s fault’," Nebbeling said in a release this week. An investigation the Coast Garibaldi Community Health Services Society recently found that four schools in the district, Signal Hill in Pemberton, Mamquam, Stawamus and Squamish Elementary in Squamish, all have problems with moisture accumulation and inadequate ventilation. All four schools had "higher than acceptable levels of moulds." Nebbeling raised the issue with Education Minister Paul Ramsey in the Legislature Monday. "Yet all he could say in response was that it was the school board’s fault that nothing has been done," Nebbeling said. "This is nonsense," Nebbeling continued. "The ministry has known about the situation for quite some time. Last year a study on Signal Hill was commissioned and revealed there were dangerous levels of airborne toxins. The school board put the school on the priority list for replacement, but what did the Ministry do in its latest budget allocation... it crossed Signal Hill off the list." The school board’s list of priorities for capital funding was an addition to Brackendale Junior Secondary first and replacement of Signal Hill second. The ministry provided funding for an addition to Garibaldi Highlands elementary and to replace roof membranes in various district schools. The school board has asked ministry representatives to look at the four schools with air quality problems and see what can be done.

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