Orange Co. school board member wants Wheatley Elementary torn down

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates learned Wheatley Elementary School in Apopka could be torn down once school finishes this year.

Reporter Karla Ray first reported about the deteriorating conditions inside the school in February after two teachers reached out about health concerns inside the building.

School board member Christine Moore has been working with staff to move up plans for a new school ever since Ray’s story aired. In two weeks, she's going to ask her colleagues to vote in favor of tearing Wheatley down over the summer and building a new school in its place.

Images sent to Channel 9 from inside the building showed rust, rodent droppings inside ceiling tiles and termites crawling through the walls.

Moore said the attention WFTV brought to the problems inside the school could get it replaced by 2014. She's asking her fellow board members to advance money to start design on a new facility.

“I think (WFTV) highlighted the concerns that I've had for a long time and helped move us along in a way to have the public support my efforts,” said Moore.

“It's a shame it had to take so long and it had to take (WFTV) to get involved,” said parent Carmen Dudley.

Channel 9 dug up records that show staff has been complaining about feeling sick inside the building for years. Those complaints forced the district to pay for a microcleaning aimed at creating better air quality just two weeks ago.

Parents said they hope Moore's fellow board members vote with her in favor of what's best for their children.

“If I have to go and fight and scream and shout in front of them, I will,” said Dudley.