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DeKalb students return to schools in various states of disrepair

It’s the first week of school and already the ceiling is leaking at Dresden Elementary School.

A garbage can sits beneath a waterlogged ceiling tile in front of a message board showing school uniform examples. The same area leaked a year ago after Hurricane Irma forced schools to close for a week.

The same area leaked in 2016 after normal rainfall.

Several schools are reporting leaks, plumbing back-ups and other issues. District officials said maintenance workers are addressing.

“There are various reasons a roof or ceiling may leak,” DeKalb Schools spokesman Andre Riley said via email. “This includes excessive rain, condensation, a malfunctioning plumbing assembly, or simple wear and tear.”

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How often the leak recurs suggests the district has done little to fully fix it.

About $100 million has been earmarked for building fixtures through the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) to replace heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing and other major systems, the district said.

The district’s computerized maintenance management system prioritizes issues across the district. For heating and cooling issues, district officials said those requests are prioritized according to what that impact, from one classroom all the way up to the entire school.

In July, when asked about the various states of disrepair at district buildings, Superintendent Steve Green said it would take about $2 billion to fix all facilities problems.

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