House Education Committee takes action for safer and better schools

HARRISBURG, June 21 – The PA House Education Committee, chaired by state Rep. Peter Schweyer, today advanced two bills which would make critical investments for school improvements and address substitute teacher shortages.

“Many Pennsylvania students do not have access to adequate schools, including classrooms that are too hot in the spring and freezing cold in the winter, buildings which have leaky roofs and some cases, facilities are making students and staff sick with mold and asbestos,” said Schweyer, D-Lehigh. “We can and must do better for our students. Under my bill, a grant program would be created which would support school districts with much needed infrastructure maintenance which the current school construction program does not cover.”

According to Schweyer, the House Education Committee approved the following bills at today’s meeting:

  • HB 1408 – would establish the Public School Facility Improvement Grant Program for schools to make improvements, such as roof repairs, HVAC systems, and asbestos remediation.
  • HB 27 – would extend the Act 91 provisions on substitute teachers for another year to allow school districts to hire annuitants if an emergency or shortage exists, an increase of the number of days or hours per school year substitute teachers may serve and temporary substitute teacher certification for assignments longer than 20 consecutive days.

Added Schweyer, “The teacher shortage crisis extends beyond full-time educators in our schools, but also with those districts depend on to step into the classroom to continue the learning process in emergency or serious situations involving teachers. School districts are in dire need and our children’s education is being hindered as a result. This bill would help give school districts more options in order to ensure the day-to-day education can continue without issues or gaps.”

Both bills will now be brought to the full House for consideration.