HARRISBURG, Feb.9, 2016 – With exploding boilers and broken heaters threatening the safety and learning ability of many of Pennsylvania’s school children, state Sens. Vincent Hughes, Art Haywood and the Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee will conduct a hearing at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, at the F.S. Edmonds Elementary School in Philadelphia.

“A boiler exploded at Edmonds Elementary during school hours and countless children have been sent home from other schools because heaters have failed to keep classrooms warm,” Hughes said in explaining his call for this special hearing. “I believe this is an extensive problem that must be tackled now. Too many of our kids are in physical danger and too many of them are being denied a quality education because of this crisis.”

“There is a single question that we face today: Are we going to abandon our children? What happened at Edmonds is completely unacceptable. Hearings are needed to investigate the deplorable status of school district infrastructure,” Sen. Haywood, who represents the elementary school and most of its teachers, administrators, parents and children, said. “The grave concerns of parents and faculty must be addressed.”

While the hearing will be held at a school where an employee was severely injured, the senators said this is an extensive problem that affects students throughout the commonwealth.

Scheduled to appear at the Thursday hearing include:

  • PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale
  • School District of Philadelphia officials
    • Danielle Floyd – Director Capital Programs
    • Matthew Malady – Director Operations/Facilities
    • Robert Hunter – Director of Facilities
  • Otis Hackney, chief education officer, City of Philadelphia
  • Mary Filardo, executive director, 21st Century Schools Fund
  • Joquina Mitchell-Somerville, teacher and PFT rep at Edmonds Elementary; Jerry Jordan, president, PFT
  • Susan Gobreski, executive director, Education Voters PA
  • Ernie Bennett, 1201 District Leader, 32BJ, SEIU

Media coverage of the hearing is strongly encouraged.

WHAT: Sens. Vince Hughes, Art Haywood and the Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to hold a hearing on collapsing school infrastructure

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11

WHERE: F.S. Edmonds Elementary School, 8025 Thouron Ave., Philadelphia.


Contact: Mark Shade

Sen. Vince Hughes

Phone: 717-787-9220


Contact: Melissa Ostroff

Sen. Art Haywood

Phone: 215-242-8171