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Did school district officials squander asbestos removal funds?

Asbestos was used so heavily for so many years that one would be hard-pressed to find a building built last century in which asbestos was not used in some way. As such, asbestos removal has become a large part of the renovation budgets of companies and municipalities in Madison County and across the country. However, those funds are not always used as directed, potentially placing many people at risk.

Recently, a school district has come under fire for possibly squandering several thousand dollars it received in a lawsuit, which was earmarked for the abatement of asbestos in one of the district's schools. To make matters worse, no one in the school district seems to know whether and how the money was spent. This means that not only has the asbestos not been removed, but the funds for that removal are no longer available.

According to recent estimates, it will cost about $900,000 for the asbestos to be removed from the school prior to the building's planned demolition. The school district is seeking voter approval for an $8 million bond which is necessary to help the school receive a grant from the state for the building's demolition and rebuilding.

Thus far, the settlement money remains unaccounted for, but the school district continues to investigate. "If the district has received any amount of money for asbestos money, whether a small amount or a larger amount, the people of this district have a right to know about it," a school board member told a local newspaper.

Source: Northern Colorado Gazette, "District received funds for asbestos abatement, has no record where funds went," Jack Minor, Oct. 16, 2012

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