PHILADELPHIA – July 31, 2019 – Governor Tom Wolf is providing $4.3 million in state funding for lead paint stabilization at Philadelphia school buildings. The governor was joined by members of Philadelphia’s legislative delegation, School District of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at the Edward Heston School for the announcement today.
“No parent should have to worry about the health risk of sending their child to school and no student should be at risk from lead paint,” said Governor Wolf. “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. Today’s announcement is another step in the work towards this goal, but it cannot and will not be the end. We must continue to fight for every child in Pennsylvania to be able to live, learn and play in buildings and spaces free from exposure to lead.”
With $7.6 million provided last year, the governor has invested $11.9 million for lead paint stabilization at the city’s schools over two years. The district has also provided $11 million and, since June 2018, will have completed lead paint stabilization projects at 32 elementary schools by the start of the school year. Nearly 18,000 students will attend schools with lead safe environments and a new coat of paint in classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, and gyms.
“We are continuing our commitment to address the environmental hazards in our schools for the school children of Philadelphia, their parents and the folks who work in toxic conditions daily,” said Sen. Hughes. “A little more than a year ago, I stood with Gov. Wolf to announce funding for emergency cleanups in our city schools and we pledged to do better for our children. We are making progress, but there is still work to do and we need larger buy-in from our colleagues in the General Assembly to attack the school infrastructure problem our commonwealth faces. We will not stop fighting until every school in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania is safe, healthy and clean. Thank you to Gov. Wolf for continuing to support the health of our students and for securing $11.9 million for school cleanups over the past two years.”
“The health and safety of our students are our highest priorities,” said Dr. William Hite, superintendent. “The School District of Philadelphia is grateful for Governor Wolf’s support, which will help supplement the work the district is doing to ensure each student is able to learn in a welcoming and vibrant school. Much of this work occurred this summer, as our maintenance and facilities staff have been working tirelessly to make sure classrooms are ready for students on the first day of school. All students, no matter where they live or attend school, deserve to learn in modernized environments that will best position them for academic success.”
The governor also explained how his Restore Pennsylvania proposal would help Philadelphia and schools across Pennsylvania to address lead and other contaminants. Restore Pennsylvania would be funded by monetizing a commonsense severance tax. Over the next four years, $4.5 billion would be provided for high-impact projects throughout the commonwealth.
The proposed investment would help communities with initiatives such as removing lead paint, protecting against flash flooding, combating blight, and expanding high-speed internet and green infrastructure. All projects that communities need but lack the necessary funding to complete.