New Environmental Safety Improvement Plan + Next Steps to Address the Overall Conditions of Our Schools

Posted by The School District of Philadelphia on November 26, 2019

Dear Friends and Supporters of Philadelphia’s Public Schools,

Today with the support of City officials and the Board of Education, the School District of Philadelphia announced the launch of an Environmental Safety Improvement Plan (ESIP) that will accelerate the improvement of environmental conditions in our schools. The ESIP reflects on the recent missteps, confronts the very real challenges we face, and highlights what we can, must and will do differently to achieve the goal of ensuring every school is clean, safe and welcoming.

Over the last five years, we have made steady progress toward this goal. We’ve fully stabilized lead paint in 32 elementary schools, certified another 13 as lead safe and will certify another 26 schools as lead safe by the end of the school year. We have added over 100 cleaning positions and implemented more rigorous cleaning standards. We have installed at least four state-of-the-art hydration stations in every building. And we’ve spent $23 million to complete asbestos-related projects in schools, including over 1,400 in the last 16 months alone. While I am proud of this progress, I want to be very clear: we must do more and we must do it better. Implementing this Improvement Plan and confronting our challenges with urgency and quality will be a core focus of our District until all of our students and staff members have the clean, safe and welcoming learning environments they deserve.

We can all support this important work by learning more about the Plan and talking about it with family, friends and community members. You can learn more by reading this ESIP Highlight Fact Sheet, and visiting our new Healthy Schools webpage.

The Environmental Safety Improvement Plan which will help to accelerate the work of improving the environmental conditions in our schools is vitally important.  It is only part of our larger goal to make sure every school is clean, safe and welcoming.

In addition to the Environmental Safety Improvement Plan, I want to share news about an important next step to address the overall conditions of our schools. Our School District has borrowed $500 million in capital funds to begin the next phase of school improvements, including more than 200 capital projects across 141 schools, the construction of three new schools (Cassidy, Peirce and a new K-8 school on Ryan Avenue) and the hiring of a new program management firm to provide project management, design, construction and communications support for these capital projects. The funds will build on the nearly $400 million investment we have made over the last five years to modernize classrooms, replace older roofs, upgrade HVAC systems, construct new school additions and enhance the basic infrastructure of many schools.

To learn more about the $500 million borrow, you can review this Key Highlights Fact Sheet or watch this Did You Know? video.

I will keep you informed of our progress with this new investment and with the overall work we are doing together to provide our students with school environments that spark creativity and inspire learning. Thank you for all you do every day to be part of the progress!


William R. Hite Jr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia

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