Students Return to Huntington Beach Elementary School After Asbestos Scare

Teachers and students are back at Oak View Elementary School as the asbestos cleanup continues

Students returned to a Huntington Beach school after three months away due to asbestos cleanup at the campus.

Teachers and students are back at Oak View Elementary School, where lessons for second, third, fourth and fifth graders will be in the temporary structures. Kindergartners will be moved to a nearby school and first graders will still be bussed outside the district. 

It comes after Ocean View School District officials decided to bus 1,600 pupils to nine separate locations last October after discovering traces of asbestos at three campuses.

"It's all safe, you know the portables have never contained any asbestos… we're bringing our kids back and we’re excited about that," school district superintendent Gustavo Baldares said.

He is also hoping to have all children back well before the end of 2015

"The goal is to have every student back at their home school at the beginning of fall, in their classrooms," Baldaras said.

Parent Martin Guzman said the emergency measures have been hard for his family, as they had to get up earlier than normal to put two of their children on a bus to Buena Park.

"The bus sometimes was too late….it was hard for me," Guzman said.

It is costing almost $8 million to clean up the asbestos, while the district has also been spending $50,000 a week to bus the students to school.

The authority is now under pressure to find a way to replenish the funds. 

Superintendent Balderas said a committee is being formed to decide which school properties might be sold, which could include the district offices.

The Orange County Department of Education has a consultant working with the district to help with a financial recovery plan.

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