Plan to address overcrowding at KCK school hits setback with discovery of mold in trailers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Overcrowding is a problem at many older metro schools. The Kansas City, Kansas School District came up with a plan to fix it by adding more classroom space, but that plan fell through when it was discovered the new facility was full of mold and falling apart.

The district says two trailers used to expand classroom space are not in the shape they were supposed to be in at the time of purchase. Parents and students say the school district should have done a better job of inspecting them before making such a big purchase.

"Like you go in and you can see the gravel beneath your feet and they have had to rebuild it from the ground up,” said 16-year-old Koleton Kreuger of the trailer.

"Oh, we are finally going to have a new building, teachers won't have to share classrooms and we will have enough class size again. It turns out that's not going to work and we have it stripped away from us, and now here we are, same as before, only we are left with a moldy building and nowhere for the teachers to go.”

David Smith, chief of communications with the school district, said the problem wasn’t immediately recognized.

"There was some attempt to make these trailers look like something they weren't, so it took us a while to figure that out," Smith said.

Krueger says they figured it out on the first day of school when the building was being used by students and teachers.

“It turns out one of the teachers falls through their floor and that prompted the district to look into why did the floor cave in?  Well, it turns out all of the walls had black mold in them,” he said.

Smith said that claim was an exaggeration, but did say there was a problem.

"Fell through the floor? That's a pretty dramatic description for, there was a soft spot in the floor and the soft spot opened up, the teacher didn't fall. But yeah, there were things that happened," he said.

Smith also said the district has made the same purchase many times with no problem. According to a memo, the district bought the new trailer for almost $115,000 from Satellite Shelters, Inc., out of Texas through a national online purchasing cooperative, sight unseen.

"We are going to make sure that we get out money back so that we won't be out anything. It's frustrating, but that's our job to deal with those things and we will,” said Smith.

Smith says the district is taking care of the kids in the most resourceful way possible and the trailers should be ready for students in a couple of weeks. He says the district will get its money back even if it has to sue to do it.