The Philadelphia school system will spend $15.6 million in state and district funds to carry out emergency repairs at 57 school buildings.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a news release that the money will enable the district to remove dangerous lead, mold and asbestos from schools.
“The safety of our children should always be a priority and our schools must be healthy environments where students and teachers can focus on learning and building bright futures,” says Wolf. “The combination of this state and district funding will make the classrooms and hallways safer at dozens of schools and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in the city.”
The state is providing $7.6 million for lead paint remediation at 40 schools in the city, and the school district is investing $8 million to remove lead paint, mold and asbestos.
The governor and local Philadelphia leaders made the announcement during a news conference at Roosevelt Elementary School, one of campuses that will undergo lead paint, mold and asbestos remediation.
About 90 percent of schools in the district were built before 1978, when the federal government banned the residential use of lead-based paint.
“Members of the Philadelphia delegation has been advocating for a closer look at how lead, mold and asbestos is dealt with in our school for several years,” said Rep. Stephen Kinsey. “We’ve been educating parents on the importance of getting their children tested but, thanks to Governor Wolf, today we’re taking a step further. I’m glad that we were able to secure funding to address this very important health concern.”
Philly.com reports that the announcement about the remediation funding comes amid growing public outcry in the wake of an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, “Toxic City: Sick Schools,” which examined how unchecked environmental hazards inside Philadelphia schools put children and staff at risk for serious health problems.