County Health Dept. allows school cafeteria to reopen Tuesday

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The cafeteria at the Stanley Makowski Early Childhood Center, PS 99 reopens Tuesday morning. The Erie County Health Department had closed the cafeteria the previous Tuesday, after finding rodent feces in several areas where food is prepared and served.

But county health officials say they are not done—they found other health code violations at the school after an initial inspection earlier in the month, and three subsequent inspections in the following three weeks.

On February 9, health officials conducted what they called a “routine inspection” of the kitchen, and wrote it up for 4 violations.

A follow-up inspection two weeks later of the entire school building last Tuesday, resulted in 27 violations–three of those were repeat violations–and the cafeteria was ordered closed.

Even after a second follow-up inspection last Friday, the cafeteria remained closed, with rodent droppings found in a milk cooler, under sinks, and toy shelves in Pre-K classrooms.

Animal feces were also found behind cooking equipment, and inspectors reported a very strong urine odor in a boys bathroom, the bathroom floor was heavily stained with urine, and an entire toilet paper roll was stained with urine.

The school’s chief engineer is responsible for taking care of most of these issues, and health officials reported Makowski’s engineer claimed repeatedly to have hired an exterminator, but he had no receipt for hiring one.

On at least two occasions the chief engineer also told inspectors he had contacted a plumber, but plumbing problems persisted.

There are apparently other issues at Makowski involving the engineer. The teachers union has a longstanding grievance over the building’s ventilation—heating and air condition–and Monday union officials met at City Hall for a grievance hearing, with Barry Kirker, the Director of School Plant Operations and Custodial Services for Buffalo Public Schools.

Kirker supervises the building engineers, and deferred reporter questions to Elena Cala, Special Assistant to the Superintendent, who revealed Makowski’s kitchen has passed inspection, and will be open for business Tuesday.

Cala said BPS officials are working hard to make sure what happened at PS 99 doesn’t happen again, health officials said there are violations at Makowski that are still outstanding, and the County Health Dept. is conducting another inspection Tuesday at Makowski–their fifth inspection in three weeks.

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