Rotary Club of Toledo gives $10,000 to TPS for lead poison testing

TPS receives $10,000 award to continue testing for lead poisoning.

By Bri'on Whiteside / The Blade
Mon, 02 Dec 2019 17:07:38 GMT

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A $10,000 donation to Toledo Public Schools will aid in ensuring more pre-schoolers are tested for lead poisoning. 

Rotary Club of Toledo members presented TPS with a check to test about 1,000 students during a Monday news conference at the TPS Early Childhood Center.

The district tested 650 students for lead during the 2018-19 academic year. Of those, 11 percent had elevated lead levels.

TPS Transformational Leader of Early Childhood and Special Education Amy Allen said testing is crucial in addressing lead exposure and its many effects.

“Lead exposure across the country has contributed to a decreased test scores, lower scores on reading readiness testing, the likelihood of learning disabled classification in elementary school, and overall lower student academic performance,” she said.

She estimates that about 325 students have been tested so far this school year with results pending. With the Rotary’s gift, testing is projected to continue through early 2020.

Tim Ryan, president of Rotary Club of Toledo,  said the organization has been involved with initiatives focusing on children for more than 100 years.

“We’re very concerned about children’s health, children’s safety, and children’s education. This initiative and ultimately the reduction of lead in their bodies will touch on all three of those issues that are very important to us,” he said. “By doing this testing, we are setting a benchmark… by defining the issue hopefully, the whole community at large will help us get rid of lead in our environment,” he said.

Executive Director of Toledo Public Schools Foundation Erica Halada said she is grateful for the foundation’s ability to serve as advocates for the partnership.

“We are the vehicle to which we can bring the resources into the district. Dr. Amy Allen and her staff and the kiddos here at the Early Childhood center are really going to receive the impact of the gift, but we are the advocates in the community to bring in the resources. It is meaningful and we appreciate this gift,” she said.

Ms. Allen said the biggest gift is the Rotary Club’s willingness to partner with the district.

“We are thankful that the Rotary is recognizing some of the challenges we have in the field of education and that they are leading the way in bringing the business community aboard to assist as they can,” she said.