Kenyatta addresses closing of Pratt Early Childhood Center due to toxic conditions


PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 21 – Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila, issued this statement following the closing of Pratt Early Childhood Center due to asbestos and the School District of Philadelphia’s calls for Harrisburg to help fund its recently unveiled environmental safety plan for toxic hazard remediation in all its schools:

“The calls from the parents, teachers, students and the School District of Philadelphia are being taken very seriously,” Kenyatta said. “No parent should have to fear sending their child to school and no child should ever be at risk for exposure to toxic materials while learning in an environment that is presumably safe. The health and safety our students and staff are my top priority and I’ve been working tirelessly to secure more funding to remove toxic hazards in schools in our community and across our city.

“Just hours prior to learning about the abrupt closure of Pratt elementary school, I met with Governor Tom Wolf to discuss allocating more funds for our schools, in addition to the $4.3 million the governor provided in July.”

To date, Kenyatta said, the governor has invested a total of $11.9 million for lead paint alleviation in schools across the city over two years, with $7.6 million provided last year. Since June 2018, through a combination of state funding and $11 million provided by the Philadelphia School District, 32 elementary schools have undergone lead paint stabilization by the start of the 2019-20 school year. Nearly 18,000 students attended schools with newly painted classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms.

“I am proud of the district’s quick response in evacuating students from the harmful environment and I look forward to working with district officials on moving forward with the implementation of their environmental safety plan,” he said.