PA House, Senate leaders call for improvement of hazardous, shoddy schools

HARRISBURG (100.1 FM and AM 1020 KDKA) — State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Representative Elizabeth Fiedler (D-Philadelphia), along with many other House and Senate members, called for repairs to be done on Pennsylvania schools that are in dire need of improvement.

On Friday, numerous legislators talked about the importance of investing in the improvement of the “school infrastructure" throughout the commonwealth.

In harmony with the earlier politicians, Senators Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks) and Representative Kyle Mullins (D-Lackawanna) singled out schools off-the-cuff that they knew needed repairs within their jurisdiction.

Many of the legislators were in agreement with their support for enhancing shoddy school buildings.

“Today’s event addressed conditions in schools all across the commonwealth, and make no mistake, these same hazardous and toxic conditions exist in communities represented by the Republican caucuses,” Senator Hughes said.

“Rural, suburban and urban communities alike face daunting challenges because of our aging public school buildings. We cannot wait any longer to act. I am grateful to my colleagues for their support on this legislation, as well as the awareness they are helping raise for this important issue.”

Two proposals rose to the surface Friday to facilitate the enhancement of some of Pennsylvania’s worse-off schools.

The first proposal would broaden the scope of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) by $1 billion.

That cash influx would be explicitly designated for addressing health hazards in public schools, a motion that Governor Wolf spearheaded.

“Our schools were already dangerous places for students, educators, and staff before the pandemic hit,” Representative Fiedler stated.

“As we seek to make schools safe in the age of COVID, we are determined to also remediate the lead, asbestos, and other toxins. Our coalition is powerful. Together, we are committed to investing state dollars in our public buildings and giving communities across Pennsylvania the schools they deserve!”

The second proposal would found the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant, which would allocate money to schools based on emergencies: “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.”

Those funds would be through the federal funding of the American Rescue Plan.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: WoodysPhotos