Dawkins and Philadelphia Delegation applaud Gov. Wolf’s budget allocation to address lead, asbestos issues in schools

HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – Members of the House Democratic Philadelphia Delegation, led by Rep. Jason Dawkins, today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to include funding to address lead issues in public schools, including those in Philadelphia, in the budget.

“Our children deserve to learn, and our teachers deserve to teach, in schools that don’t make them sick,” said Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation. “This is something that we can all agree on. But for far too long, our children, teachers and anyone else who has entered school buildings in Philadelphia have taken their own lives into their hands because often lead and asbestos were lurking inside.

“My delegation colleagues and I are overjoyed at the news that Governor Wolf will be making investments in lead and asbestos remediation projects in our schools. Finally, we can take the steps to make our school buildings safe places to learn and to teach,” Dawkins said. “After so many of us have fought for so long to bring attention to this crisis, we are so grateful that Governor Wolf is making this a priority.”

Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., secretary of the Philadelphia Delegation, agreed that it’s great news Wolf plans to prioritize the funding to allow schools to get rid of toxins.

“We won’t rest until this money is a reality,” Fiedler added. “Every single Pennsylvania student and educator deserves a healthy and safe school building.”

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., vice chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation, said, “I’m proud that Governor Wolf is allocating this additional funding to ensure students, teachers and staff can learn and work in classrooms that aren’t detrimental to their health.

“I’ve been working tirelessly to secure more funding to remove toxic hazards in schools across our city and I look forward to continue working with the governor to remedy our schools of all toxic materials,” Kenyatta said. “Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic whip, said, “The very least we can provide to our children and our educators is a safe, clean environment in which to learn, and far too many Philadelphians don’t even have that.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the voices of my fellow legislators in the Philadelphia Delegation, as well as Governor Tom Wolf for recognizing this problem and dedicating resources to help,” Harris said. “I also hope that this brings attention to the state of the public schools in Philadelphia, as we are fast approaching a point where fixing structural issues piecemeal will simply not be acceptable and we’ll have to have a serious discussion about building schools to ensure our children get the education and school buildings they deserve.”

Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, said, “I’m grateful to Governor Wolf for listening to the concerns of advocates and legislators. Our children deserve to learn in schools that are not falling down around them or threatening their health with unclean air. This is a great step forward that will benefit many schools in my district and in the city of Philadelphia.”

Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., secretary of the House Democratic Caucus, said, “I am truly grateful to Governor Wolf for making the remediation of lead and asbestos in our schools a priority. It makes sense to be able to utilize RACP funds for these projects considering this program is meant to improve our communities, and what better place to use these funds than in our schools?”