Fiedler and Hughes hopeful that Gov. Wolf will prioritize safe, toxin-free schools

HARRISBURG, Jan. 27– State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., and state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Phila., issued the following statement, expressing optimism in response to news that Gov. Tom Wolf will be proposing a budget with “significant resources” for asbestos removal and toxin cleanup in school buildings:

“We are glad Gov. Wolf is prioritizing the needs of Pennsylvania students and educators in the upcoming budget. The issue of toxic school conditions is most prominent in Philadelphia — where six schools have been closed this academic year because of environmental concerns. But make no mistake, schools across the state are facing similar infrastructure needs that are just as pressing in nature. We must adopt a plan that addresses the immediate concerns, as well as a long-term strategy to ensure every child is able to attend a healthy, safe 21st century school.”

Wolf previously sent about $12 million in aid to Philadelphia, but the crisis remains substantial and affects students statewide. Fiedler and Hughes have introduced legislation that outlines $125 million in emergency funding to schools across the state with exposed asbestos, lead paint and crumbling buildings.

Fiedler said, “Right now, our educators and students are in the middle of a public health emergency. It is a moral outrage that the toxic conditions continue in our schools. Every single Pennsylvania student, educator and school staff member deserves a healthy and safe school building. I’m glad the governor plans to prioritize funding in his budget. But our coalition of students, parents, educators, staff unions, faith leaders and community advocates won’t rest until this money is a reality!"