Proposed Senate Bill 555 will address poor school infrastructure concerns across the state
The major issue is the money:
Senator Hughes proposals would allocate $125 million to fund school repairs across the state, broken down by $85 million for Philadelphia schools, $30 million for school districts with students experiencing poverty and $10 million for the remaining public schools in the state.
A school facilities survey conducted for the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2014 received responses from 211 local education agencies and 2 charter schools, representing 1,194 school buildings, or approximately 40% of all the school buildings in the Commonwealth. The survey found that 46 percent of public school buildings were originally constructed prior to 1959. Another 32 percent were originally constructed between 1960 and 1979. Only 22 percent of the school buildings in the survey were constructed in the post-lead ban period.
There are 200 school buildings in the School District of Philadelphia, half are more than 70 years old.
From Allegheny County to Lackawanna County are in disrepair, resulting in often dangerous and unhealthy conditions for students and teachers. Hundreds more schools across state are more than 70 years old and have not received significant renovations.
Because of aging infrastructure and substandard investments,
Pennsylvania’s school infrastructure received a C
from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2018. It had the second highest funding debt gap in the nation.
Pennsylvania is one of 22 states failing
to get the lead out of drinking water in schools: https://environmentamerica.org/feature/ame/get-lead-out-0
School districts could use the grant funding solely for emergency repairs, Senator Hughes knows this problem is bigger than emergency funding and is working with fellow legislators to address the school infrastructure problems across the commonwealth.