Daily News Archive

Florida School District Ponders Buying Pesticide Contaminated Land
(from February 25, 2003)

The Manatee County (Florida) School Board is considering the purchase of a tract of University of Florida's land that has been used since 1959 to test pesticides, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune. The University of Florida, as a component to the plan, will "lease part of the land to finish existing experiments," with a stipulation that spraying pesticides from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the weekdays would be prohibited. Many in the community say the land is too contaminated for a school.

A local resident, Joel Cote of Bradenton Florida, told the Herald Tribune that the "School Board voted to sign a contract offering to pay $11.9 million for this tract, even though residents and officials have vociferously voiced their objections about the purchase. Additionally recent studies have shown the presence of DDT, arsenic and other dangerous chemicals in the soil."

"Several decisions made recently by [the] School Board have been called into question by citizens. None has been more questionable than the school site. We voted to tax ourselves to help educate our children and provide them with adequate school buildings on safe sites," Ed Chance, Palmetto County Commissioner told the Herald Tribune. The school district should use the "tax dollars wisely and find a better site for the new school."