In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, Isaiah Thomas, News by PHL Council

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Philadelphia, PA. — Last year, City Council passed Bill 210685-AA to make school facilities safer for students, educators, and all who enter School District-owned buildings. The bill effectively requires buildings to obtain a Special Certificate of Inspection to show compliance with asbestos removal and other “property-related hazards.” In response to this bill which puts the health of children and our educational community first, the School District has sued the City of Philadelphia. In response, City Councilmember and Education Committee Chair Isaiah Thomas and Council President Darrell L. Clarke released the following joint statement:

“As Chair of City Council’s Education Committee and President of City Council, we work to utilize every power that City Council has – such as legislation, hearings, and the budget – to ensure better educational outcomes for our students. We cannot discuss goals such as improving safety, curriculum, and climate if the physical school buildings are not safe. Education Chair Thomas has been demanding a capital plan from School District leadership for months now, as this crisis is not new. 

It’s unfortunate that the School District has decided that this must be addressed in court, rather than providing a comprehensive plan to modernize and safeguard our schools.

As a Councilmember, coach, and father, and as Council President, we spend time in schools across the city; We have seen firsthand the troubling disparities among schools. To respond to a plan to get rid of asbestos and other hazards with a lawsuit reinforces that the School District is working to maintain the status quo, rather than working collaboratively to bring our schools into the 21st Century. 

While lawyers battle this legislation in court, we are committed to using our offices to ensure that our young people and school faculty are adequately cared for and heard. There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our youth. “

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