PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Philadelphia continues to deal with asbestos concerns in its schools, the national teachers’ union is coming up with its own plan to fix the problems. The American Federation of Teachers says they want the district to bring in 40 to 100 workers to identify any asbestos problems and remediate them.
Meanwhile, the School District of Philadelphia says it’s working harder than ever to fix the problems.
“Make sure our kids and our educators and our parents come first and solve this problem, solve this crisis,” said Randi Weingarten, with the American Federation of Teachers.
The American Federation of Teachers is demanding answers and better results as Philadelphia continues to struggle with asbestos concerns in schools.
“What more evidence do we need that we have a public health crisis that needs to be solved in the City of Brotherly Love?” Weingarten said.
The union is calling on a rapid response team that would identify and remediate asbestos after it was reported.
A rally was held outside of Hopkinson Elementary School on Wednesday. The school has been closed all week because of concerns over asbestos exposure to students and staff.
“What good is an education if they’re going to have to deal with health problems down the line?” said Hopkinson teacher Laura Pritz.
Hopkinson is the eighth school to close so far this school year because of asbestos concerns.
The school district said Wednesday that more issues are being found because more inspections are being performed.
Officials say the district is $20 million over budget on asbestos remediation for the year.
Superintendent Dr. William Hite says he supports the union’s rapid response proposal but says their work would have to be prioritized.
“You can have a rapid response and then we’re not responding to the imminent hazards, which are the most critical issues that we have to address first,” Hite said.
The unions did not have an estimate on how much their rapid response teams would cost but the district said Wednesday that the school board released an additional $34 million for inspections and remediation work.