Philly school board wants asbestos reports on district buildings to be more accessible

Mike DeNardo
September 12, 2019 - 3:28 pm
School board meeting

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — After a Philly teacher was diagnosed with mesothelioma — a form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure — Philadelphia school board members are now taking a closer look inside district schools.  

Related: Teachers union warns of asbestos in Philly schools after member gets mesothelioma

Board members questioned how parents and school staff can be kept up to date regarding what the district is doing to remove asbestos from its aging buildings.  

At a meeting of the board's Finance and Facilities Committee, district Chief Operating Officer Danielle Floyd said the best way to stay informed is to check the district's asbestos reports and inspection schedules, which can be found online at the district's Office of Capital Programs page.

"All of the reports for every school are available online in a grid organized by elementary, middle schools and renaissance charters," she explained.

But board member Letitia Ehea-Hinton said that page isn't easy to find, and it lacks a simple breakdown of what parents and teachers really want to know.

"So people can understand the basic questions that they're concerned about," she said, like, " 'Is my kid safe? I'm a teacher, am I safe? Can I go into this building, and what's being done?' Very simply."

She asked that a link to the reports be made more prominent on the district's website.

City Councilmember Derek Green also wants the city to kick in $10 million for asbestos and lead remediation in Philly schools. He has introduced a bill transferring the money from the city's general fund.  

Green is part of a coalition calling for $100 million to address hazardous conditions in schools.