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ELC DEMANDS RELEASE OF FUNDING TO REMEDIATE LEAD IN NJ SCHOOLS’ WATER

September 30, 2019

Citing recent reports of as many as 480 public school buildings with lead in water delivery systems, Education Law Center (ELC) is calling on New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and Schools Development Authority (SDA) Interim CEO Manuel Da Silva to immediately make funds available to school districts to address this potentially hazardous condition.

In a letter sent to the State officials, ELC underscores the legal responsibility of the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) and the SDA for providing safe, healthy and educationally adequate school facilities for students in thirty-one urban or “SDA” districts and other districts across the state.

ELC notes that, although the SDA has exhausted its school construction funding, the “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act” approved in November 2018 includes $100 million for school district water infrastructure improvements.  

Given the threat posed by lead to students’ health and development, ELC is demanding the NJDOE and SDA immediately notify districts of the availability of the bond act funding to replace fountains, sinks, piping and other water infrastructure in buildings and/or install and maintain water filtration systems. 

“There is no place for lead, a dangerous neurotoxin, in any of our public schools,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. “We call on Commissioner Repollet and CEO Da Silva to make bond funding immediately available to remediate lead in the water fixtures and pipes of school buildings and establish an expedited process for districts to apply for the funding.”

In 2017, ELC and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) led an effort to secure funds for a lead remediation initiative in numerous Newark public schools with elevated lead levels in water, which culminated when the City of Newark stepped in to provide funding. ELC, the Michigan ACLU and the White & Case law firm are also representing students in Flint, Michigan, to address the impacts of the lead crisis on the special education program in the Flint schools.  A landmark partial settlement in the case provides screening and neuropsychological evaluations for Flint children affected by the crisis.

 

Related Stories:

FLINT LEAD CRISIS: SETTLEMENT TO LAUNCH GROUNDBREAKING PROGRAM TO ASSESS IMPACTS ON FLINT CHILDREN

ADVOCATES DEMAND STATE FUNDING FOR LEAD REMEDIATION AND PLUMBING PROJECTS IN NEWARK

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24