PHILADELPHIA–“Clearly, it’s unacceptable to subject schoolchildren and educators to the building conditions that have been present at J.B. Kelly. Closing the school until mold remediation is complete is the right course of action. However, what’s even more unacceptable is the District’s failure to implement a system to effectively address maintenance issues at Kelly and too many other Philadelphia schools.
“The PFT and staff at J.B. Kelly reported mold and other issues to the District long before it became a news story this week. Instead of taking proactive–and cost effective–steps to remediate the mold when it was first reported, the District allowed the situation to worsen to the point that the school had to be closed to address the issue.
“The PFT has long advocated for a process to manage and maintain healthy school conditions. In 2016, the PFT Health and Welfare Fund released a report on how the District’s resources could be more efficiently used to identify, communicate and fix minor maintenance concerns before they become major repairs. This deficiency was one of the primary reasons the PFT joined other individuals and organizations to form the Healthy Schools Initiative, a coalition focused on fixing many of the unhealthy physical conditions that exist in our schools.
“The District’s approach to managing school building conditions has proven costly, dangerous and disruptive to our students and school staff. We hope that the events at J.B. Kelly will be a catalyst for better collaboration between the PFT and the District as we work to make all of our schools safer for our children.”
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