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School Board to spend $215,000 on toxicology doctor

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 9:51 pm | Updated: 5:33 pm, Wed Feb 5, 2014.

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Sarasota County School Board has hired a toxicology expert to try and determine what's causing teachers and students to feel ill at Lamarque Elementary School in North Port.

Dr. James McCluskey from the University of South Florida will be paid an estimated $215,000 to conduct interviews with staff members, look at their medical records, conduct tests, and determine a cause.

"I have no reason to doubt the teachers," said District CEO Scott Lempe. "We just aren't ready to say it's a function of the building."

That's what some have been saying for months. They blame the school's drywall as a cause, even though extensive tests have concluded otherwise, according to the district officials. Last week ABC 7 took those results to a third party drywall expert, who agreed with the district's findings.

"They need to shut the school down," said Andrea Furia, who has two children at Lamarque. "My kids have been chronically sick. In fact, I had to pick up one of them early today for a headache, fatigue and throat issues."

Dr. McCluskey will begin his work this week. There is no timetable as to when he will conclude his report.

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  • drno posted at 1:54 pm on Wed, Nov 20, 2013.

    drno Posts: 1

    This is LUDICROUS!!! This doctor is absolutely over-billing the county for these services. Having been a CEO of large medical practices for the past 25 years, it is unconscionable that the county has even considered this doctor's fees to be reasonable.

    While it is a great idea to have the doctor perform these services, this study should cost no more than $65,000 from any well-trained physician trained in toxicology and public health.

    Another case of the government having no idea of what it's doing and wasting taxpayer money to do the right thing.

    Whatever happened to the bidding process for services?

  • Mrz posted at 11:30 pm on Tue, Nov 19, 2013.

    Mrz Posts: 3

    We are so thankful that we brought this issue to the attention of the Gentleman that ultimately contacted the School, thankful that the Children and Staff are getting much needed Medical attention.
    Dr.McCluskey affiliated with USF as are the Engineers & Scientists that determined our Domestic drywall containing Carbonyl sulfide, Carbon Disulfide,etc, to be Contaminated is well respected within the Chinese Drywall field working with Attorney's, per documents on the internet.
    The "third party" "drywall expert" should not determine that these gases are not the cause of these illnesses unless he has lived it as we have. To our knowledge, there is NO Drywall expert, there are Scientists, Toxicologists, etc....there is no license for a "Drywall expert" in the State of Florida or anywhere else. As a matter of fact, the ones that have lived the Catastrophe have become the Experts. Again, we are thankful that Lamarque is stepping up and doing the right thing.