BURLINGTON, Vt. – Burlington School District Superintendent Tom Flanagan has responded to a recent VTDigger report that the district allegedly knew about PCBs contamination over a year before reporting those findings to the state.
According to state officials cited in the report, the district discovered back in July 2019 that the cancer-causing chemicals were in Burlington High School and the surrounding soil. It wasn’t until last month that the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health were notified.
State law says contaminants in the environment must be reported immediately.
“My work is really focused on how we move forward,” Flanagan said. “I want to make sure that our buildings are healthy for all of our students and staff. I met with a group of students yesterday afternoon who gave me some really good insight and information about how they’re feeling and how we can improve our communication and work with them as they’re going through this transition back to remote learning.”
Flanagan took over as superintendent ahead of the fall semester.
If reports are accurate, the district could face major financial penalties. Students have been out of the building for several weeks, and that will continue for at least the rest of the fall semester.