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12:10 PM / Thursday April 2, 2020

16 Dec 2019

Fiedler announces legislation to establish $125M program to remove toxic conditions from public schools

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December 16, 2019 Category: Stateside Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler

A rally demanding action will be held in Harrisburg at the Capitol Rotunda on December 18.

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D- 184th Dist.) recently announced that she will re-introduce legislation to establish a $125 million grant program to fund emergency repairs at public schools across the Commonwealth.

 “Many schools across Philadelphia and Pennsylvania include asbestos, lead and other toxins,” Fiedler said. “Our children, teachers and their families are facing a public health emergency. It is a moral outrage every day that goes by without addressing these conditions!

“This funding will allow public school districts to remediate issues that endanger our children and our educators,” Fiedler said. 

“This emergency funding is needed to address a true emergency in our schools, it is by no means a fix for the dramatic and repeated underfunding of our public schools. It will simply help to ensure our school buildings do not pose a threat to the health and wellbeing of students and teachers.” Fiedler and colleagues, with labor, education and community partners, are holding a rally to demand action on toxic conditions in schools at 10 a.m. on Dec. 18 in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. Students, teachers, staff, parents, union leaders and legislators are expected to attend from across the state to call for the bill’s passage.

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“Everyone who cares about having safe and healthy school buildings is welcome to join us,” Fiedler said.

Fiedler’s legislation would establish a $125 million grant program within the Pennsylvania Department of Education, known as the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program. 

The grants would be distributed with $85 million to Philadelphia, $30 million to districts with high rates of poverty and the remaining $10 million to any other district. The program would be funded from the General Fund.

School districts could use the grant funding solely for emergency repairs, such as lead and asbestos abatement or remediation, HVAC repair or replacement, electrical system repair or replacement, plumbing repair or replacement, roof and window repair or replacement, and other repairs or replacements that present a health or safety issue. Money dedicated for this purpose will not be for school districts to build new schools or athletic fields; it will be used exclusively for making current buildings safe and healthy for students and teachers.

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