By Matt Petrillo


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new app available has teachers in the Philadelphia School District hoping to hold the district more accountable when it comes to poor building conditions. The app, called Healthy School Tracker, was launched Thursday by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

It’s no secret some Philadelphia schools need repairs and now this app let’s teachers and students take the report of those into their own hands. Officials say the average age of school buildings in the district is 70 years old.

The Philly teacher’s union says the goal of the app is to get a faster resolution from the school district when dealing with building issues.

“We’re really excited to go public,” Jerry Jordan, of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said.

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The app allows anyone to report school facility issues like mold and rodent infestations.

The reports are then vetted by the union before being transferred to the school district. From there, the user can track the progress of repairs.

“The PFT is one of the loudest voices when it comes to calling attention to the quality of school buildings our students learn in,” Jordan said.

The app also allows users to submit photos and creates a record of the issue.

“By reporting to us and through us, to the district, we can better track, evaluate and verify fixes” said Jerry Roseman, an environmental scientist for the PFT Health and Welfare Fund. “And use broad participation, more eyes, more data and more action to drive improved solution implementation.”

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The Philadelphia School District admits it gets dozens and sometimes hundreds of work orders a day on its aging schools.

But the district is trying to stay on top of building issues. It’s hiring more than 100 workers, including building operators, electricians, plumbers and painters.

Before the app was created, teachers would have to report building issues to either a building engineer or principal, but anyone can use the app if you have an iPhone.