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07/16/2019 07:26 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=29704
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 31, 2019 03:56 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program
 
In the near future I plan on introducing legislation to address the toxic, unsafe conditions in public school buildings throughout the Commonwealth.

The condition of public school facilities has broad impact on students, teachers and communities — affecting everything from physical health to academic achievement.

Most Pennsylvania public school buildings were built between 1950 and 1959; there are more than 200 Pennsylvania public school buildings built before 1950. Nearly half of those old buildings house students in the School District of Philadelphia. The systems within those buildings — heating, cooling, lighting, electrical, etc. — are broken, inefficient and in desperate need of replacement.

In late March of 2019, the Fund Our Facilities coalition announced that the School District of Philadelphia needs an immediate investment of $170 million to make critical repairs to school buildings throughout the District to ensure the health and safety of the students and staff in those buildings.

Various media reports over the past two years have shed light on the toxic conditions of some of Philadelphia’s schools. But these problems are not unique to Philadelphia. I have personally toured school buildings in Clairton, McKeesport, Harrisburg and Scranton and met with school leaders, teachers and students throughout the state to witness first-hand the often dangerous and unhealthy conditions of our public school buildings.

Please join me in ensuring our children have the safest learning environment possible by cosponsoring this legislation.



Document #1

Introduced as SB555

Description: My proposal would establish a $125 million grant program within the Department of Education, known as the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program.  The grants would be distributed with $85 million to Philadelphia, $30 million to districts with high rates of poverty and the remaining $10 million to any other district.  This would be funded with money from the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Fund, the First Industries Program, the New Pennsylvania Venture Capital Investment Program, the Building Pennsylvania Program and the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund. 

School districts could use the grant funding solely for emergency repairs, such as lead and asbestos abetment 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.  Money dedicated for this purpose will not be for school districts to build new schools or athletic fields; it will be used exclusively for making current buildings safe and healthy for our students and teachers.
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB556

Description: My proposal would establish a $125 million grant program within the Department of Education, known as the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program.  The grants would be distributed with $85 million to Philadelphia, $30 million to districts with high rates of poverty and the remaining $10 million to any other district.  This would be funded from the General Fund. 

School districts could use the grant funding solely for emergency repairs, such as lead and asbestos abetment 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.  Money dedicated for this purpose will not be for school districts to build new schools or athletic fields; it will be used exclusively for making current buildings safe and healthy for our students and teachers.