Problems in Schools Statewide

Lead & Asbestos 2020

With little oversight, asbestos issues challenge Pa. schools


A potentially cancer-causing material could exist in wall insulation, ceiling plaster or floor tiles in more than 2,000 Pennsylvania schools.

Across the state, with limited money for renovations and little state or federal oversight, asbestos remains a hidden danger.

Gov. Wolf Announces Billion-Dollar Plan to Fix Toxic Schools, Address Lead Across Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf today presented a series of proposed 2020-21 budget items totaling more than $1.1 billion to support reducing the risks to Pennsylvanians of lead and asbestos, and remediating existing toxins in schools, day care centers, homes, and public water systems.

“Decades ago, well-intentioned Pennsylvanians constructed our homes, schools, waterways and other structures out of asbestos and lead because they were thought to be harmless, even superior materials,” Gov. Wolf said. “Now we know the serious harm both can cause. To build a better Pennsylvania, we first need to fix our foundation, which is why the five lead and asbestos removal initiatives I’m outlining today are so important.”

Lead. Asbestos. Mold. Pennsylvania’s old schools need repairs, governor saying in budget appeal to lawmakers

With budget season approaching, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is developing a plan to help deal with aging school buildings plagued by environmental problems, including lead paint and asbestos insulation, his office said.

Wolf must deliver a budget proposal to the Legislature on Feb. 4, and lawmakers who are pressing for state aid to address what they call a massive and growing problem have asked the Democratic governor to include money in the spending package.

Map: 100 Pa. schools found lead in their drinking water. Here’s how they responded.

Public health experts all agree that there’s no such thing as a safe level of lead exposure for children.

But new state data show that thousands of children across Pennsylvania have likely been exposed to the toxic metal in their school drinking water. 

Asbestos, Unsafe Lead Levels Found in Scranton Schools

SCRANTON, Pa. — Several Scranton schools contain asbestos and unsafe lead levels. School district officials announced that publicly at a meeting this week.

It’s possible school administrators and board members had that information years ago but did nothing about it. The state attorney general is now investigating.

Asbestos 2019

Philadelphia Parents Continue To Call For Change Following Discovery Of Asbestos In Multiple Schools

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Concerned parents continue to call for change following the discovery of asbestos in a number of Philadelphia schools. On Friday, they joined lawmakers at Drexel University to demand action in what they call “toxic schools.”

“We need to know what the circumstance is,” Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent Hughes said. “We need to not run away from the problem, we need to run towards the problem and understand what it is we have to deal with.”

Lead 2019

High lead levels found in water at Emerson-Gridley

Erie School District shuts off water temporarily and is supplying bottled water at the alternative-education school, which remains open.

The Erie School District temporarily shut off the water at its Emerson-Gridley building on Wednesday due to high lead levels and is making arrangements to bring in bottled water for staff and students to drink.

Carbon Monoxide – 2019

Fleetwood school closed Friday after suspected CO sickens 8

Fleetwood Area Middle School is closed Friday after multiple people were sickened in what the superintendent calls a carbon monoxide problem Thursday night.

Emergency crews were called to the school around 8:30 p.m. for reports of several people suddenly feeling ill.

Radon – 2019

PA Has Especially High Levels Of Radon, New Bill Would Mandate Testing For It In Schools

A new bill in the state House would require every school district in Pennsylvania to test for radon and inform parents of the results.

Blamed for 20,000 deaths per year, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers in the United States.

Levels in Pennsylvania are considered especially high nationally. An estimated 40 percent of homes in the state have radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s action guideline of 4 picocuries per liter of air.

Boiler – 2019

Saint Bede School will be closed again Friday as boiler repairs continue

PITTSBURGH — Saint Bede School in Point Breeze will be closed Friday for a second day of boiler repairs, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said.

The school was closed Thursday morning due to a boiler issue that led to the building having no heat.

Temporary fix keeping Penn Hills High School warm after boilers break

In a twist of events, Penn Hills High School is now too hot – even with a faulty heating system.

But Superintendent Nancy Hines said it’s business as usual at the high school and the district is moving forward with a plan to keep the building comfortably warm until an insurance claims adjuster determines what went wrong.

Mold and Heat – 2018

Mold, excessive heat plague Pa. schools, delay start of new year

By Steve Marroni |

When the school bell rings in a new year of learning, it means reuniting with old classmates, meeting new teachers and hitting the books once again.

This year, it also means excessive heat and mold.

Mold concerns cause delays, closures at multiple schools in Western Pennsylvania

Several school districts in Western Pennsylvania are dealing with mold-related issues at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Mold – 2018

Mold found in Plum schools; start of new school year postponed until Sept. 4

‘Air quality concerns’ reported in Plum High School and Oblock Junior High School; first day of school throughout district postponed until Sept. 4.

PLUM, Pa. — The start of classes in the Plum Borough School District has been pushed back to Sept. 4 because of “air quality concerns” at the high school and the junior high, according to a statement released Monday.

Mold delays start of school in area districts

Many kids head back to school Monday but some schools scheduled to start were delayed due to mold and moisture issues.

In Monroe County, Pleasant Valley School District pushed back the first day of school from Monday to Tuesday.

Another School District to Close Due to Mold

BRADFORD COUNTY, Pa. — Yet another school district in our area will be closed to clean up mold.

According to the Canton Area School District website, schools in the district will be closed Friday, August 31 through Friday, September 7.

Recently testing found higher than acceptable mold levels in buildings throughout the Bradford County district.

Mount Pleasant Junior/Senior High School delays start of classes due to water damage, possible mold

Mount Pleasant Area School District has delayed the start of classes for junior high and high school students after water damage and possible mold was found in the building.

Teachers found water damage and what looks like mold and fungus in at least one classroom. Air quality tests also show an elevated level for mold.

Mold Closes Elementary School in Pottsville

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — John S. Clarke Elementary in the Pottsville Area School District is closed for the rest of the week. Officials there tell us mold was discovered in the school.

The district’s website says the superintendent will provide an update by Friday.

Athens Area School District Closes School Due to Mold

Athens, PA (WENY) – Just one week after Canton Area School District closed its schools due to mold, the Athens Area School District is doing the same thing.

Athens Area School District discovered the mold growing on a bookshelf in one of the classrooms shortly after the school day ended on Thursday. Students and faculty were then notified that they would not be able to return to the school until the end of next week if all the mold is cleaned up by then.

Heat – 2018

Pittsburgh Public Schools, Almost 2 Dozen Other Districts To Dismiss Early Tuesday

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new school year is just beginning, but already dozens of western Pennsylvania Districts have decided to dismiss classes early on Tuesday because of the oppressive heat and humidity.

When the sun beats down, those of us who can will escape into air conditioning.

Reading School District to dismiss students early because of heat advisory

READING, PA — The new school year started less than smoothly for the Reading School District, and the heat is not helping.

The district announced Monday night that it will dismiss its students early Tuesday and Wednesday because of a heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service.

West Shore School District dismissing early due to heat

According to the district’s website, secondary students will be dismissed at 11:45 a.m. and elementary school students will leave at 12:45 p.m.

Afternoon kindergarten is canceled today, and morning kindergarten students will stay in school and receive lunch before being dismissed at 12:45 p.m.

Boiler – 2018

Middletown School District considers elementary school shakeup, closing at least 1

MIDDLETOWN — Kunkel Elementary School could soon be without students, as Middletown Area School District officials hosted a public meeting Wednesday to discuss a proposed restructuring of its elementary schools.

None of the options presented included the use of Kunkel, the only elementary school in Lower Swatara Township. And one option eliminated student use of Fink Elementary.

Collapse – 2018

Snow blamed for roof collapse at school wrestling building

Years of notorious, gusting winds could not do what a strong blast of snow did to the Solanco High School wrestling building.

Administrators blame the snow for a partial roof collapse.

“I’m just glad we didn’t have kids in the room at the time it came down,” wrestling coach John Little said,

A school spokesman said anywhere from six inches to a foot of snow piled on the building that’s been around since 1992 and is used as a training facility.

Flooding – 2018

Tuscarora School District to be closed today due to flooding

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa.– Tuscarora School District will be closed today due to flooding.

The district announced the move via a message on its website:

Due to localized flooding and the recommendation of our township supervisors TSD will be closed today, Thursday, September 13.

Emmaus High School closed through Wednesday after flooding

EMMAUS, Pa. (WPVI) — The cleanup continues at Emmaus High School in Lehigh County.

Classes were canceled after the school’s lower level was flooded during Friday night’s powerful storms.

Viewer video shows water filling the hallways, classrooms, the main office, and gym.

School closures, evacuations underway in Philipsburg-Osceola area

So far this school year, mold and heat have caused school closures and delays across the state — now, it’s rain.

In Centre County, Philipsburg-Osceola canceled class for all schools due to flooding.

The Philipsburg area was one of the hardest hit by the flooding on Monday and subsequent road closures.

Asbestos – 2017

Kimmel opening to other districts

Altoona Area School District is opening its William P. Kimmel Alternative School to all Blair County districts next school year.

“It’s a way to ensure the program doesn’t lose money, and it gives other districts a way to provide alternative education to their students without going to private companies,” Superintendent Charles Prijatelj said.

The school board this week approved Prijatelj’s proposal to charge outside districts tuition to send their students to the school.

Mold – 2017

Mold Delays Start of School in Pike County

LEHMAN TOWNSHIP — Mold means a longer summer break for students in the Poconos.

Classes are being pushed back at Lehman Intermediate until next Tuesday, August 29th.

Students at East Stroudsburg Area Senior High School North won’t go back to class until Thursday the 31st.

East Pennsboro schools address mold problems again

ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – The East Pennsboro Area School District is dealing with air quality concerns again. Mold issues last year closed schools and disrupted the start of classes, and a routine test last week revealed troublesome levels again this summer.

East Pennsboro Elementary School, East Pennsboro High School, and West Creek Hills Elementary School all tested for high levels of mold spores.

Lead 2017

Did officials at Pa. school district cover up dangerous lead levels in drinking water?

The rural western Pennsylvania school district where a lead-tainted water scandal prompted the resignations of administrators and the closure of an elementary school is now facing questions about what those officials knew, and when.

According to reports, on Aug. 15 of last year, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notified Butler Area School District administrators of unacceptable lead levels above 15 parts per billion (ppb) and as high as 55 parts per billion in the well water supplied to Summit Township Elementary School.

Collapse – 2017

Centennial School District closes middle school swimming pools after ceiling collapse

The Centennial School District, in the midst of a $25 million renovation of its two middle schools, has closed the pools in both buildings after ceiling tiles collapsed into the Log College pool.

The incident occurred July 14 when three members of the Central Bucks Family YMCA were on the pool deck, according to district officials. No one was hurt, but several people “were very startled,” said David Baugh, Centennial’s superintendent.

Asbestos – 2016

District prepares to demolish intermediate school, remove asbestos

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) — It’s out with the old and in with the new in Altoona as the School District gets ready to demolish its Intermediate School.

The demolition comes after voters approved a $23 million referendum in 2014 to build a new elementary school and revamp the old middle and elementary school.

Along with tearing down walls, crews will also start removing asbestos from the intermediate school building.

Mold – 2016

Mold issue forces closure of East Pennsboro High School for at least 3 more weeks

East Pennsboro Area High School will remain closed for at least an additional three weeks as the school district works to remediate a mold problem discovered in the school this week. Classes were cancelled across the district as similar issues also were discovered in other East Pennsboro schools. The other schools could open this week.

Cedar Cliff High School closed Wednesday due to mold discovery

Mold at Cedar Cliff high school

Mold was found on pipes in the West Shore Academy section of Cedar Cliff High School and in the school’s main office late Tuesday afternoon. Sean Simmers, August 31, 2016

Another Cumberland County school will be closed Wednesday due to the discovery of mold.