The Town Board voted Tuesday against forming a committee to look into health concerns at Northport Middle School.
Councilman Eugene Cook had proposed the committee but the board rejected the idea, 4-1, with the majority deciding to defer to the school district, which had opposed the idea. Other members of the board expressed concern for Northport residents and their fears about the school’s safety but felt the matter was best handled by the school board.
Northport Middle School has been a target of complaints about environmental health issues, with some parents, teachers and students reporting high cancer rates and other health issues.
The Northport school board voted Nov. 7 to conduct a soil test and to form a committee of parents, board trustees, district staff and professional experts to study the complaints and report back to the board by March.
After the meeting, Cook said, “I believe that it is our responsibility to take care of the health and welfare of all of our residents, regardless if a school district is involved. I am not looking to fight with the school district; rather I am looking to assist the school district with any resources we have available, to determine if there is a possibility that these health issues are caused by the environment within or surrounding the building.will continue to support and work with the residents and the Northport-East Northport School District on this and any matter in the future.”
The Northport school district did not respond to a request for comment but earlier in the day Tuesday, John Gross, of the law firm Ingerman Smith, noified the Town Board that the school district opposed Cook’s proposal because they regard it as a school matter.