Parents United, Philadelphia Home & School Council, PhillyDSA, Reclaim and Our City Our Schools coalition are committed to addressing the citywide policies and practices that must change to transform our school buildings. We will continue to show up for individual school fights to support students, school staff and families in real time and to inform what is needed across our district more largely. We need your voice!
For decades, school communities have been fighting for the clean up of mold, asbestos, pests and lead in our schools. There is no excuse for students and school staff being subjected to these conditions and we are due for a new approach. We are a severely underfunded school district and we’ve watched the money directed for these conditions be mismanaged time and time again by district leadership. This top down approach to this huge problem ignores the passion and expertise of our school communities, especially in our Black, Brown and poor neighborhoods. Across the country communities are calling for safe schools! It’s time to transform our schools!
The demands of the coalition center transparency, deep engagement and planning as the only path forward to making schools healthy, safe and modern for all public school students:
- Information must be transparent and accessible to school communities. This includes the most recent environmental data, construction timelines, progress updates and a public audit on the school district’s operational spending on maintenance, and capital spending on construction – including the processes for decision-making at the school district’s central office.This information must be shared via the city, school district and individual impacted schools.
- An independent citywide board, separate from the school district, must oversee spending priorities, construction progress, and decide on best practices for construction processes and environmental testing. This board must be replicated on the school level to ensure school communities are informed of what’s happening at their schools and are taking leadership in finding solutions. These formations must be made up of parents, students, and representatives chosen by every union with staff working in public schools.
- The school district must create a master facilities plan with input from school community members to rebuild or repair every school, remediate environmental toxins, and reduce each school’s carbon emissions using union labor and minority-owned companies.
- Win the money needed so every child has a 21st century school building by: taxing the rich, using federal money, and cancelling Wall Street. There is plenty of money to fix our schools — but we need our elected officials to demand it! We could do this through bringing in federal money from Biden’s stimulus or the infrastructure bill, ending the abatement, making universities pay PILOTS and demanding banks provide no-cost, no-fee loans to repair the harms that Wall Street banks have done to our schools.