Parents at another Plato Academy voice concerns about mold

A meeting is underway at Plato Academy in Clearwater.
A meeting is underway at Plato Academy in Clearwater.

CLEARWATER, Fla.  (WFLA) – Months after an 8 On Your Side investigation into mold at Plato Academy in Largo, parents are coming forward to complain about issues surrounding the Plato Academy Clearwater campus.

“I don’t know if the board is aware but, there is water intrusion in our beautifully constructed new building,” parent Katherine Schmidgall said.

During a board meeting Friday, Schmidgall read a letter regarding water on the walls after Hurricane Hermine. She said she asked about the water marks, but was told nothing was wrong.

Schmidgall said she learned later construction was being done to fix it – but without the parents’ knowledge.

“I have lived in Florida my entire life and I understand these things happen, however, when we have intrusion so bad that students cannot be in classrooms and dry walls are being replaced, our principal should notify us,” she said. “An email should have been sent out immediately by our principal indicating what had happened and they were working to fix it. Not send it buried in an email almost a month after the incident.”

Parents say they planned to address the leak issues, along with other serious concerns at a September board meeting, but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.

The founder and CEO of the Pinellas County charter school, Steve Christopolous, has been under scrutiny for mold concerns at the Largo campus.

Dozens of parents complained back in August. Some parents pulled their kids from the Largo campus after several heated meetings.

Multiple parents claimed their kids were getting sick. Largo campus parents who also attended the meeting Friday said they’re still dealing with mold issues.

“That Largo campus was promised tile work to be done in the modular buildings due to mold,” one parent said.

Aimee West also attended the meeting. “We’re still seeing mold in the classrooms. They’re also having issues with the AC,” West said.

News Channel 8 tried to get Christopolous to talk about the concerns on camera, but he declined to comment. He also refused to address any of the parents’ issues during the meeting. He said he would do so at a later date.

Christopolous told News Channel 8 off camera he does want to have better communication with parents. During the meeting, he told parents he wants the schools to form committees, which parents can be apart of. These committee members will walk through the campuses.

Christopolous also said he plans to hold annual building health checks/ The new facilities manager will make frequent visits to the schools to make sure there are no issues, he added.

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