A bill headed to Harrisburg aims to clear asbestos, lead and mold from Philly schools

Justin Udo
December 11, 2019 - 1:50 pm
Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy

Holli Stephens./KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A bill headed to Harrisburg is aimed at cleaning up Philadelphia's schools, and a community is banding together to help it pass to law.

Asbestos, lead and mold have plagued a number of Philadelphia school buildings in recent years.

Parent Gilberto Gonzalez says the law is needed desperately — "because our kids should be able to go to school and be safe, and we shouldn't have to worry about asbestos and lead in our school."

His son Lucas goes to Benjamin Franklin High School. Their building was shut down right after the school year started because of asbestos.

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"It's time to invest in our schools and protect our children and create the best learning environment and safe environment for our kids," he said.

Next week, Gonzalez and a number of other Philadelphia school parents and students are taking a charter bus to Harrisburg to present that bill, and he plans on taking the floor to speak to lawmakers.

"It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican or independent, we should all be supportive of this bill to create the safest environment for our children."

Pa. Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta is a co-sponsor on the bill that's asking for $125 million for Philadelphia schools, but would also help schools around the state.

"This money would go to, again, remediating some of these real issues that we've seen in our schools," Kenyatta said.

He says he hopes the bill goes through this year, but if it does not, he thinks it can go through in 2020.

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CORRECTION: The is asking for $125 million to help schools in Philadelphia and around the state. A previous version of this article had an incorrect dollar figure.