Legislation proposed to combat toxic schools.

SB 556: Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program

This bill 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.

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.

SB 312: Lead Testing of Children

This proposal would mandate lead testing for all young children in Pennsylvania is about to be re-introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. The prior bill number was SB 1270. The proposal would require health care providers to conduct tests to detect lead poisoning in infants and toddlers, as well as pregnant women.

Based on the Department of Health’s most recent Childhood Lead Surveillance Annual Report, only 28% of Pennsylvania children under the age of two were screened for blood lead levels in 2015.

Recent data has shown a much greater number of children may be at risk—based on exposure in their homes or relatives’ homes, in care and educational facilities, or in playgrounds, among other areas.

A number of other states as well as Washington D.C. have already implemented similar laws, and it is important that we act to do the same. We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this measure.

SB 960: Public School Building Renovation and Rehabilitation Act

This bill from 2017-18 session will be reintroduced shortly. The proposal is based on recommendations from a national report on our country’s aging school building infrastructure, and 2016 facility conditions assessment by the School District of Philadelphia, and visits to dozens of public schools throughout the Commonwealth. The proposed legislation is targeted to financially struggling school districts that often do not have the resources to do the timely repairs and renovations that prevent much more costly emergency school building work in the future. $600 million a year for 10 years;

  • 75 percent of the available funding will be targeted at low-wealth school districts throughout the state;
  • Establishes a statewide public school building health and safety rating system.

SB 961: Medical Monitoring for Students and Staff

This proposed legislation would establish a program of medical monitoring to detect early signs or symptoms of a latent disease resulting from exposure to a toxic substance. Monitoring would include medical tests and procedures.

Anyone attending a school building or employed in a school building may file a claim to cover the costs of those test.

A school entity would be liable for those claims if it can be shown that:

  • The individual was exposed at greater than normal levels to a toxic substance during attendance or employment in the school building;
  • The individual had a greater risk of contracting a latent disease as a result of exposure
  • A monitoring procedure exists that makes early detection of the latent disease possible.
  • The individual’s increased risk of exposure requires a medical monitoring regime different than what would be prescribed absent exposure;
  • The prescribed medical monitoring regime is necessary according to contemporary scientific principles