February 21, 2024

ABOVE PHOTO: Rep. Jordan Harris (D-186th Dist.)

Home Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Jordan Harris (D-186th Dist.) hosted a information convention final week at South Philadelphia Excessive Faculty discussing college amenities funding within the 2023-24 state funds.

The funds consists of $175 million for college facility enhancements.

Pennsylvania has a number of the oldest faculties within the nation. The common college constructing is round 70 years outdated and was constructed when lead pipes and asbestos had been normal constructing supplies.

Discoveries of asbestos and different toxins have led to highschool closures throughout the Commonwealth, together with seven Philadelphia faculties in 2023 alone. In the identical 12 months, 100 faculties statewide closed as a result of extreme warmth.

Harris acknowledged that he believes this funding will assist to deal with this concern that’s plagued Pennsylvania faculties for a very long time.

“This funding is paramount to bettering the well being and security of our educators, college students and faculty employees, Harris mentioned. “This main Democratic precedence is a major funding and significant step towards guaranteeing that receiving an schooling in Pennsylvania doesn’t equate to sick or injured college students, lecturers, or employees. There’s extra work to do, and we intend to proceed our work till each Pennsylvania college is a secure studying surroundings for our youngsters.”

Harris was joined by members of the Philadelphia Home Delegation, together with state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D-184th Dist.) and members of the Home Appropriations and Schooling committees, together with Schooling Committee Majority Chairman Peter Schweyer (D-Lehigh).

Schweyer mentioned this funding will permit faculties to correctly tackle points with their amenities.

“For the primary time in practically a decade, the Common Meeting has acknowledged the necessity for funding which permits college districts to deal with facility repairs and upgrades,” he mentioned. “As a father of two within the Allentown Faculty District, I’ve seen firsthand the necessity for funding so faculties can present the secure and comfy studying environments that oldsters count on, and kids deserve.”

Fiedler, whose legislative district consists of South Philadelphia Excessive Faculty, has been a long-time advocate for college amenities funding.

“Delivering $175 million in class amenities funding is a win for college kids and lecturers who deserve secure studying environments,” Fiedler mentioned. “However we’re going to want much more to restore and improve our chronically underfunded college buildings. I’m hopeful that this second will kick off a wave of funding in public faculties, so we will lastly tackle our unconstitutional funding disaster.” 

Home Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-191st Dist.) acknowledged that this funding will assist faculties throughout the Commonwealth.

“From fixing leaky roofs, to changing lead pipes, to updating HVAC methods, we want to verify our school rooms are secure so our youngsters can concentrate on studying,” McClinton mentioned. “The funding Home Democrats secured for college repairs will assist faculties right here in Philly, and in Studying and Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and Scranton make their studying environments safer for college kids and employees.”