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Public Hearing on Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Sullivan, Indoor Air Quality, Schools, Department of Public Instruction, Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Wisconsin Association of School Business Administrators, Wisconsin Council for Administrators of Special Services, WEAC

The Senate Committee on Education is holding a hearing this morning on Senate Bill 41, a bill I authored that will help districts address indoor air quality in schools. Below is text from the testimony I submitted to the committee just moments ago.

Testimony of Senator Jim Sullivan Regarding Senate Bill 41

Chairman Lehman and members of the committee, thank you for holding a hearing on Senate Bill 41, legislation which will help give schools a protocol to follow when dealing with indoor environmental quality issues. I am very pleased to tell you that this legislation has support from the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Association of School Business Administrators, the Wisconsin Council for Administrators of Special Services, and the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). I urge you to support this bill when it comes to a vote.

Our schools need tools to address indoor environmental quality issues, and Senate Bill 41 gives them guidance and expertise to deal with such issues. 

Good indoor air quality in schools contributes to a favorable learning environment for students and a productive work environment for staff. Failure to prevent and promptly respond to indoor air problems can have grave consequences for our teachers and students, including health problems, diminished performance, and absenteeism. In addition, poor indoor environments increase the potential that schools will have to be closed and occupants relocated, and it accelerates the deterioration of school buildings.

Senate Bill 41 requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to convene a task force to develop a model management plan for indoor environmental quality in public and private schools. Using the DPI plan as a model, school districts will be able to adopt a plan that best meets the needs of their community.

28 states already have laws regarding indoor air quality in schools, and it is imperative that we continue to help schools in Wisconsin solve their indoor air quality issues. Through an informal WEAC survey and records requests from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the former Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, WEAC identified almost 100 school buildings with concerns about indoor environmental quality. 

Today, you will hear from parents and school district employees from across the state on how indoor environmental quality affected their lives. I join them in asking for your support of this legislation.

Click here to read the bill.

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