Broward attorney lobbies for school renovations
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Concerned Broward residents are lobbying for massive renovations to some of the county's oldest schools, and they have taken their cause all the way to the governor's office.
Attorney and activist Chris Fertig and his wife Mary brought these issues to the school board's attention. They have the visual evidence to back them up. "We have pipes that people suspect might have asbestos," Fertig said during a slideshow presentation of his findings. "Of course we found safety violations," he added.
Slide after slide displayed severe deterioration at institutions like Hallandale High School, where missing ceiling panels revealed a sewage leak. At Stranahan High School, the oldest school in the county, widespread damage included rotted wood inside a bathroom, walls without water fountains, a dilapidated swimming pool without a dive board and an unusable running track.
"I don't know how the school board and the City of Fort Lauderdale, the mayor, can tolerate this," said Stranahan alumni Pamela Mosser, whose father was hired as an English teacher when the school was founded in 1952.
Chris and Mary Fertig previously sued the school district in 1995 for racial discrimination. This time, they claim the city and the board turn a blind eye on these older schools.
Current Stranahan students are aware of the damage. "It's fine with me," said Marlon Jones.
Fellow student Israel Perez echoed his classmate's sentiment. "I don't really mind as long as I learn and stuff," he said. "It's not that bad; you get used to it," Perez added.
District officials blame budget cuts on Governor Rick Scott, who visited Fort Lauderdale High School Thursday. "I've been governor for two years, and this is my third budget, the first time that it looks like we have a projected surplus," he said. "Hopefully we'll be able to work with the legislature to put more money into our education system, so they can make sure we have the funding," Scott added.
For Mosser, the funding could not come soon enough. "I think major resources need to be poured into our school," she said. "I think all the things that they've been promising for the last 10 years really need to start to happen."
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