The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a violation to ACCEL Schools Ohio LLC in light of concerns of asbestos and lead paint hazards in three Valley charter schools.

According to a press release, the EPA found these issues during inspections at the Youngstown Academy of Excellence, Niles Preparatory Academy and the STEAM Academy of Warren.

The investigation stemmed from a complaint with concerns about asbestos in the Youngstown Academy of Excellence from March of 2024. The state conducted an inspection shortly after and notified EPA of its findings.

From there, EPA conducted its own inspection of all three schools. That investigation revealed that ACCEL schools do not have required asbestos management plans.

ACCEL must now investigate the risk of exposure to lead paint and asbestos hazards, address materials posing an imminent danger and monitor any other asbestos-containing material and lead paint at all three schools.

Additionally, ACCEL is ordered to prohibit anyone from entering the buildings until abatement work is finished.

The EPA has also subpoenaed ACCEL for records regarding Asbestos Hazard Emergency Act compliance and led paint renovations to all of its schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In a statement, ACCEL Schools that despite regular custodial and maintenance service in all buildings, these issues were not previously brought to ACCEL's attention nor reported to school personnel. ACCEL also stated that upon learning of these potential issues in the three buildings, they engaged an environmental consulting firm to conduct an inspection of each campus.

According to ACCEL, the firm identified certain issues in a limited area of Youngstown Academy of Excellence and began mitigation immediately.

Full project completion is expected by Monday, June 17. Inspection results for Niles Preparatory Academy and STEAM Academy of Warren are expected soon, and if mitigation is required, ACCEL states that it will coordinate service immediately.

The EPA will ensure communication between families, teachers and staff and local health departments while the abatement work is ongoing. 

Additionally, the EPA is working with state and local health officials to establish resources for impacted families. Concerned families are encouraged to contact their primary health care provider for information on blood lead testing.