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Pupils at Secord Public are safe, board says after complaints about mould, water damage, smells and air quality.

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

Parents at an east-end elementary school are planning to pull their children out of class on Friday to protest against the crumbling condition of their school.

Families whose children attend Secord Public School near Danforth Avenue and Main Street in East York have been complaining about the condition of a portable building attached to the school for nearly two years.

A patchwork of repairs has happened at the school, but concerns flared recently when one parent, Heather Tormey, spotted fresh evidence of mould and water damage.

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"It's a festering old portable," she said. "Even walking up to it, it smells like rot and wet."

The parents say they intend to remove their children from the school at 10 a.m. unless the school board commits to more than short-term repairs, such as a permanent addition on the existing building.

A spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board, Ryan Bird, said repairs on the school's roof would begin next week and that any water damage would be addressed shortly thereafter.

The TDSB's inspectors insist the building is safe.

"An air test has been conducted recently and the portables are safe for students and staff," Mr. Bird said.

The school trustee for the area, Sheila Cary-Meagher, said she hates to see the board spend $100,000 putting a new roof on an aging building, but that there was not enough money for anything else.

"I think the building is not a good building, but it is not a dangerous building," she said.

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The cash-strapped school board has a backlog of more than $3-billion in deferred building maintenance.

Funding for major renovations and new buildings was frozen by the Ontario government, and is now approved on a case-by-case basis, after it was revealed the TDSB had gone $10-million over budget on the retrofit of Nelson Mandela Park Public School.

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