Portland school officials are trying to determine whether a discolored area in a corridor ceiling at the Longfellow Elementary School is mold.

The discoloration was discovered late last week at the Stevens Avenue school. Longfellow has a school population of about 350 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

Superintendent Xavier Botana wrote in a letter to the school community that school officials do not believe there is a hazard to students or staff.

Botana said in his letter that the facilities team inspected the ceiling and determined that it is likely to be mold.

He said that it appears the mold is contained in the ceiling.

Mold can cause allergies and trigger coughing, wheezing and nasal stuffiness.

Botana said there was no evidence of cracking or sagging, which could cause mold to be airborne. He said a roofing contractor has assessed the roof and fixed a leak that could have exacerbated the problem.

Air quality testing is scheduled for Monday to make sure the level of mold in the air is within acceptable levels.

“Assuming that air quality tests reveal that there is no airborne mold, we are confident that we can isolate and remediate the situation with minimum disruption,” Botana wrote.

Botana said school officials would share all the details of the air quality testing results and remediation plan as soon as they are available. The testing should take about a week to 12 days, he said.

Longfellow and three other Portland elementary schools – Reiche, Lyseth and Presumpscot – are the focus of a campaign to pass a $64 million bond to renovate the four schools. Also on the Nov. 7 ballot is a proposal for a $32 million bond to renovate the Presumpscot and Lyseth schools as school officials pursue state funding for Reiche and Longfellow.

Residents may vote yes or no on either question. If both receive a majority, the question with the most votes will be enacted.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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