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EPA fines two Arizona charter school operators for asbestos violations

Release Date: 09/08/2009
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov


Phoenix, Glendale, Tucson and Yuma charter schools lacked asbestos inspections and management plans

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined two Arizona charter school operators a combined total of $22,030 for alleged violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).

In April 2007, EPA inspectors discovered seven Arizona charter schools operated by Pointe Educational Services, and The Charter Foundation had not been inspected to determine if asbestos-containing materials were present in the schools’ buildings and no asbestos management plans for the schools were created.

“Asbestos can potentially endanger the health of students, teachers, and employees at schools,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “All nonprofit schools subject to AHERA, including charter schools, need to conduct asbestos inspections and have asbestos management plans.”

The EPA fined Pointe Educational Services $13,700 and The Charter Foundation $8,330. The schools operated by Pointe Educational Services are:
    North Pointe Academy, located at 4941 West Union Hills Drive in Glendale
    North Pointe Preparatory, located at 10215 N. 43rd Ave in Phoenix
    Pinnacle Pointe Academy, located at 6753 West Pinnacle Peak Road in Glendale
The schools then being operated by The Charter Foundation are:
    AmeriSchool Academy Yuma Campus, located at 2098 S. 3rd Ave in Yuma
    AmeriSchool Academy Country Club Campus, located at 1150 North country Club in Tucson
    College Preparatory Academy Broadway Campus, located at 7444 E. Broadway in Tucson
    AmeriSchool Academy Camelback Campus, located at 1333 West Camelback Road in Phoenix
Each school is allowed to subtract properly documented costs of complying with the regulations from the penalty amount.

Accredited inspectors have since inspected these schools and a management plan was prepared for each school. Asbestos-containing building materials were found at North Pointe Preparatory. Inspectors found no asbestos containing building materials at the other schools.

Federal law requires that local education agencies, which run schools subject to AHERA, must conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present and develop a management plan addressing the asbestos materials found in the school

Schools subject to AHERA that do not contain asbestos-containing material must still have a management plan which identifies the designated person and includes the architect’s statement or building inspection and the annual notification to parents, teachers, and employees regarding the availability of the plan.

Under AHERA, local education agencies must appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools with asbestos-containing materials must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records documenting those activities in its management plan.

Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in its administrative office and at the school which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers, and the general public.

For more information on asbestos in schools visit: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html
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