Results of Air Quality Tests at Spain and Four Other Schools Show Only Low Levels of Mold and No Black Mold Present

Water Quality Test at Spain also confirms no lead or bacteria detected 

Detroit Public Schools, in conjunction with the inspection of school buildings by the City of Detroit, has engaged a third party, certified environmental consulting firm to address concerns of air quality. The results of the first of these tests, conducted at Spain Elementary-Middle School, Dossin Elementary-Middle School, Detroit International Academy for Young Women, A.L. Holmes Elementary School and the Osborn High School Campus have confirmed low levels of mold at these schools. The tests also confirmed that no black mold is present at any of the five schools.

The report from ATC Group Services LLC (ATC) for Spain, which was tested on February 6, 2016, said that air sampling for total mold spores indicated the presence of low indoor concentrations of mold spores. Importantly, the report said specifically that, “total airborne mold spore concentrations were very low and are typical of an occupied office setting.”

Areas at Spain tested included the gymnasium, the hallway outside the auditorium, classrooms 141, 142, 160, the hallway outside of classrooms 226 and 232, the Band Room and Dance Studio, and the main office, among other areas.

“Mold, dust and dust mites are everywhere and cannot be 100 percent eliminated from any building,” said Felicia Venable, DPS’ Acting Executive Director of Operations. “In fact, neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) nor any other federal regulatory agency has any set standards or threshold limit values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores.”

Venable continued, “However, when questions are raised about air quality in our buildings, as they have been in the inspection reports for these five schools by the City of Detroit’s Health Department, we will conduct a test to ensure that our buildings provide a safe environment conducive to learning for our students. I am pleased that the test results support that there is no issue with air quality in these schools.”

In addition, to address recent allegations, the District also had an accredited laboratory, IMS Laboratory, conduct water quality tests at Spain. The results of that test, which was also conducted on Feb. 6, 2016, reported that neither lead nor bacteria were detected in the school’s water.

The District is actively working to address the violations cited in the inspection reports from City of Detroit, as well as to continue to address the work orders that are entered into the District’s online work order system, “School Dude.”

The majority of the violations cited at Spain have been addressed. However, the District has requested and received an extension from the City of Detroit for the completion of the replacement of the roof above the gymnasium.

To date, the City has completed the inspection of 70 DPS schools. A number of schools are currently awaiting re-inspection. Once schools pass their re-inspection, the District must pay the City’s mandatory inspection fees before it can receive the required Certificate of Compliance.

The inspections fees the District has been charged by the City of Detroit total, as of Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 are $22,417.40. This amount, which was for only 26 of the 70 school buildings already inspected. The number will continue to grow as more inspections are completed.

“Detroit Public Schools will continue to follow its capital improvement plan to be best of its ability and resources,” said DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley. “We have already redirected $300,000 in funding to support the ongoing needs and we will work to identify additional resources to assist in our work. However, in order to address the District’s more than $50 million in immediate capital needs, we must have the critical investment that has been requested of the State Legislature in Gov. Snyder’s education reform plan that is currently being considered in Lansing.”

All air and water quality tests that are conducted, as well as weekly updates on the District’s repair and improvement progress are being placed on the District’s new Building Improvements website. Please visit, for more information.

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