Fiedler, Policy Committee examine school building toxic conditions and emergency funding

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on toxic conditions in school buildings and emergency funding at the Horace Furness High School.

Fiedler requested the hearing to discuss what more the state can do to improve conditions in Philadelphia schools for students and staff. The hearing ended with a tour of the high school to see the conditions firsthand. Legislators from across the state joined Fiedler, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

“Nearly half of the school buildings in Philadelphia are decades old with antiquated systems, including heating, cooling, lighting and electrical. These basic comforts are in dire need of replacement. In addition, these buildings have mold and other hazards that are creating serious health problems for our children,” Fiedler said. “We need to come up with policies that will ensure our schools receive adequate funding, so our children receive a quality education in hazard-free and safe environments.”

Sturla added, “The children in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth should not have to learn in unhealthy and outdated conditions. The House Democratic Caucus seeks to provide all students with a high-quality education, so they are prepared to either go on to an institution of higher education or to join the workforce. I thank Representative Fiedler for her leadership in spotlighting this issue.”

Testifiers included: Dan Peou, principal, Horace Furness High School; Jerry Jordan, president, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Jerry Roseman, environmental science director, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Environmental Science Advisor to Philly Healthy Schools Initiative; Pat Eiding, president, Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO; Stephen Rodriguez, superintendent of schools, Pottstown School District; and Janene Hasan, STEM specialist, Southwark Community School.

The meeting was one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing healthcare access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.