The School District of Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the City’s new environmental “best practices” law. Board of Education President Reginald L. Streater, Esq., explained in a statement that the District took this extraordinary step because the new law could threaten the opening of many District buildings at the start of the next school year, jeopardizing the health and safety of students who rely on our schools for much more than instruction. The federal complaint also notes the new law – which would require inspections based on still undefined “best practices” before a school would be allowed to open – puts the District at odds with existing federal environmental regulations, as well as state and local mandates.
Streater’s statement mentioned meaningful environmental progress through the District’s Office of Environmental Management & Services, including more than 4,400 asbestos-related abatement actions in 241 buildings in 2022; 168 schools “lead safe” or “lead-free” certifications; installing more than 1,665 hydration stations; and recently winning a $5 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help the District reach its goal of one hydration station for every 100 students within the next five years. The District believes this new city law will hinder its ability to maintain this progress.