Senator wants air quality review at Union Co. schools

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:

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UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A Union County legislator is calling for an independent review of air quality inside schools that thousands of students may be moved to in the fall.

Eyewitness News exclusively obtained a copy from state officials of the letter Sen. Tommy Tucker (R - Union County) sent to the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health on Wednesday.

In the letter,Tucker formally requests DHHS inspectors review the indoor air quality at all Union County Public Schools, citing constituents' concerns.

Tucker told Channel 9 he received more than 100 letters from parents and voters during the past few weeks concerned about the safety of the aging schools on the eastern side of the county that would bear the brunt of the redistricting process in the fall.

"With the recent vote on redistricting, (the parents) did not trust the schools to give them the proper information," Tucker said.

Tucker listed Western Union Elementary, Parkwood High School and Sun Valley High School as some of the schools for which parents have expressed their concern.

Sun Valley, which is more than 50 years old, was the subject of a letter sent to parents by Board of Education Chairman Richard Yercheck in January, where Yercheck discussed the school's leaking roof and collapsed ceiling tiles.

In February county health inspectors noted "visible signs of mold," according to Health Department records.

Tucker said he wants the state to determine if mold or any potential asbestos is harmful to health.

"There's no hidden agenda here, except to make sure the schools are safe for the children," Tucker said.

Channel 9 reached out to Union County Public Schools for comment but did not hear back.