Fund Our Facilities Coalition announces legislation to improve Philadelphia school buildings
PHILADELPHIA –This week, the Fund Our Facilities Coalition, of which state Rep Jared Solomon D-Phila., is a member, announced a legislative package to be introduced by state Sen. Vincent Hughes that would invest $85 million to make critical repairs to Philadelphia’s school buildings.
The dollar amount represents exactly half of the $170 million the coalition has said is needed to address immediate health and safety concerns, and to ensure every Philly school building is safe, clean and healthy.
“Our Philadelphia Platform acknowledges the importance of securing more funds for our schools,” Solomon said. “It’s vital that students are able to learn in a safe, hazard-free environment. I’m honored to be a part of the coalition that is helping to make this a reality.”
Hughes’ bills, S.B. 555 and S.B. 556, present two different options for funding the repairs through the Department of Education. Senate Bill 555 would establish a program funded from several Commonwealth special funds with outstanding balances. Senate Bill 556 would establish a program funded from the current state budget surplus. State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., plans to introduce companion legislation in the House, as well.
The legislation calls for school districts to use the grant funding solely for the kinds of emergency repairs identified by the Fund Our Facilities Coalition. These include: lead and asbestos abatement or remediation; HVAC repair or replacement; electrical system repair or replacement, plumbing repair or replacement, roof and window repair or replacement; and other repairs or replacements that present a health or safety issue.