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PFT Testimony at Council Hearing on Facilities, Presentation of Letters Concerning Crisis

November 5, 2021

PHILADELPHIA—Today, PFT President Jerry Jordan and PFT Health & Welfare's Director of Environmental Science Jerry Roseman delivered testimony before City Council's License and Inspection Committee. They spoke in favor of Councilmember Derek Green's Bill 210865, which would create a series of oversight mechanisms geared towards addressing the School District's ongoing mismanagement of the facilities crisis.

In his testimony, Jerry Jordan shared a series of letters exchanged regarding the crisis. 

First, Jordan shared an October 15th letter he issued to Dr. Hite addressing our ongoing process based concerns. He outlined a series of ongoing concerns including the following: 

  • The District’s refusal to provide our Director of Environmental Science with regular access to buildings as he has had for nearly forty years.
  • The District’s ignoring of emergency problems submitted via our Healthy Schools Tracker App, with some problems left to languish for years.
  • The District’s refusal to implement protocols that have either been in practice for years or protocols that have been agreed upon, or protocols that we have outlined that are best practices. 

Jordan then shared Dr. Hite's October 20th response, which Jordan described as "inadequate and misleading."  

Jordan continued, sharing a November 2nd letter authored by forty-seven members of the Fund Our Facilities Coalition and sent to Dr. Hite to continue to make the case for significant process overhauls regarding the facilities crisis. The Facilities Coalition wrote, in part: 

The PFT has provided a series of recommendations regarding overall practices, and has also provided a series of recommendations and in depth reports with regards to specific schools. The fact that these recommendations have not only gone unheeded, but in fact have often gone ignored, is simply unacceptable. We found the October 20th response you provided to the PFT’s October 15th letter to be wholly inadequate. The issues they raised were not addressed substantively, and in fact some of the responses were either false or misleading.

Jordan concluded his testimony by again reiterating our process-based recommendations and noting: 

"These recommendations can, and should, be straightforward to implement. We remain ready, willing, and able to work with the District to engage in a fully collaborative approach to the facilities crisis. However, our efforts have gone rebuked and rebuffed, and as such, it is urgent that Council pass Bill 210685 to implement a critical layer of oversight that is missing from this process."


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