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Breaking News: New Opportunity to Promote IAQ in Schools Assessments and Repairs - RAMP

Breaking News: New Opportunity to Promote IAQ in Schools Assessments and Repairs

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“An important opportunity for those of you working on indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools — two processes to assess school facilities will be happening over the next year. Both are related to the Williams vs. the State of California lawsuit, which was a class action suit which charged state agencies with failing to provide public school students with equal access to instructional materials, safe and decent school facilities, and qualified teachers. The lawsuit was recently settled, and two aspects of the settlement will impact IAQ in schools. Those are: 1) ASSESSMENTS – All school districts participating in the School Facilities Program (any school that gets money for modernization or new construction — this includes most schools) are now required to maintain schools in good repair.”” By January 25, 2005, the State Allocation Board must develop an “”Interim Evaluation Instrument”” (IEI) for determining what is meant by “”good repair.”” The IEI will be used in an ongoing facilities inspection system, with findings reported in the School Accountability Report Card (SARC), which is released to the public each year. The County Superintendent will monitor corrections to problems reported in the annual SARC. PolicyLink recommended that assessment of the presence of “”toxic mold”” be changed to assessment of the presence of any mold, since it is difficult to know which kinds of molds are most harmful to health. The deadline for additional recommendations was December 3, 2004. 2) ASSESSMENTS AND FUNDING FOR REPAIRS – In a related but different process, schools with low academic performance must complete a one-time assessment to identify structures or systems that pose a health or safety threat to students or staff (ventilation problems are included in the regulations as emergency needs). School districts are being asked to complete this assessment by January 1, 2006. The state has allocated $800 million to reimburse low-performing schools for needed repairs they report. WHAT YOU CAN DO: This site – // provides a list of the low-performing schools that are eligible for the $800 million. Exactly how this process will work is still being developed, and a PolicyLink staff member is attending ongoing meetings on this issue. For now, you can find out whether school districts in your area are eligible for this money — and if they are eligible, this may be a great opportunity for you to encourage them to do a thorough IAQ assessment and get money from the state to fix problems they find. PolicyLink will keep you posted on new developments in this process. For more background on the Williams case and related policies, see // Draft IEI:”””