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L.A. Unified Calls on State of California to Support Clean Schools for All (05-18-21)

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Megan VandenBos, 818-792-0679                  May 18, 2021


L.A. Unified Calls on State of California to Support Clean Schools for All  

LOS ANGELES (May 18, 2021) – The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education voted today in favor of the “Clean, Safe, and Sanitary Schools for All” resolution, calling for the state to set and fund cleanliness standards for all public schools. The resolution, authored by Board President Kelly Gonez and cosponsored by Board Members Mónica García and Jackie Goldberg, affirms support for ensuring safe, sanitary classrooms and school sites. The state already sets comparable standards for appropriate lighting, air quality, and noise levels in schools.

“Nothing has emphasized the need for cleanliness more than the COVID-19 pandemic, but it shouldn’t take a pandemic for the State to provide the necessary funding for school cleanliness at the appropriate levels,” Board President Gonez said. “We’re calling on the State to establish high cleaning standards for our schools and provide school districts with the funding to meet those standards.”

“Providing an environment where every student can thrive is crucial to reaching 100% graduation,” Board Member Garcia said. “The COVID-19 pandemic magnified existing inequities in the cleaning and maintenance of our highest-needs schools. Now is the time to end decades of budget cuts to maintenance and cleaning to ensure every campus is clean and sanitized to the highest standard. It is our collective responsibility to invoke long-term solutions with adequate cleaning standards across all Los Angeles Unified schools.”

“All students deserve a clean and safe environment to learn and thrive,” Board Member Goldberg said. “We must provide these basic resources to support the physical, mental and academic health of our students.”

“Keeping our schools clean is an essential function for successful school operations,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “As a former school administrator, I know how important the work our maintenance staff strives to conduct daily and also recall several times spending weekends on campus to take care of minor improvements.  I join the call for advocacy for our lawmakers to provide school districts with increased funding to sustain our current cleaning standards.”

“As we prepare for an in-person return to school, Los Angeles Unified is committed to ensuring a safe and orderly environment that is conducive to learning, where all students and staff can thrive and feel safe and supported,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Although we see an increased investment in our schools from our state and federal governments, I agree that we must continue to advocate, work collaboratively and intensify our efforts so we can maintain our schools year-round, make the most use of all available resources and create a better future for our students.”

“LA Unified has gone above and beyond to put new health and safety protocols in place as we navigate this unprecedented moment,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “None of this would be possible without the hard-working employees on the ground every day – and we will continue to advocate for the resources necessary to keep our campuses clean and our school communities safe.”

“As a district, it is our responsibility to maintain a safe and clean learning environment for our students, staff and families,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of providing sanitary school facilities to keep our school communities safe and healthy, and I look forward to working with our state leaders to ensure our students continue to have learning environments that are held to the highest standards.”

“We commend the Board for recognizing the critical importance of school cleanliness to the health and safety of the entire school community and urging the governor and state Legislature to establish cleaning standards, staffing levels and dedicated funding to ensure our schools are safe and clean long after this pandemic is over,” SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said. “What is needed are long-term standards and solutions.”

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