Forest Park District 91 schools have figured out what was causing the foul smell at Forest Park Middle School, according to Superintendent Louis Cavallo. 

Cavallo said that he walked in to FPMS after summer cleaning this year and was shocked by the bad smell. 

“When they stripped and waxed the floors this year, it was incredibly strong and the rugs were really bad, so we figured out it probably is the ammonia in the stripper that pulls up the wax,” Cavallo said. “It wasn’t dried completely before the wax was put down on it, and then the rug was on top of that. So they let that process go a little longer before they waxed, and they also threw away those old rugs, and the smell appears to be gone.” 

Controversy erupted over the smell at the end of the last school year, when a D91 health service coordinator emailed every parent in the district, attributing the smell to a growing mold and air-quality crisis in the schools. In addition to using the district database to email every D91 parent a 41-page mold manifesto with pictures, the employee also called local and federal authorities to come and inspect the schools. He also bought two mold kits from Home Depot and tested the schools himself. 

The school board voted unanimously to end his contract at a board of education meeting in June. At a school board meeting on August 8, the board approved hiring his replacement. 

Nona Tepper 

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