22. May 2018 · Comments Off on SFUSD Should Expand our Environmental Health Program · Categories: News

Remarks by Chapter President Josh Davidson on Board Policy 3514.1: Hazardous Substances, adopted by SFUSD Board of Education tonight:

I’m encouraged to see the boarding considering this policy and hope that you will adopt it tonight. 

As you may know, SFUSD used to have 15 full time staff working on hazardous materials management, abatement, and safety training. We call these folks “Asbestos Worker IIs” because they were hired and trained in a simpler time when we didn’t know as much about the health impacts of pesticides, cleaning chemicals, materials used in science labs, and so forth.

Our expanding science program, aging facilities, and increasing safety standards have changed the work of these members over the last twenty years, and attrition from retirement has left us with three remaining staff. The remaining staff are also near retirement.

School safety presents unique challenges, which means that it’s hard to find folks that we can hire — especially on our salary scale. In our parcel tax conferences with your senior staff, one of the priorities we identified was building a training program to develop existing staff to take on this work, with a goal of reaching 6 positions by 2020 and building a pipeline for future staffing. 

I hope when you confer with your staff about this policy you will encourage them to allocate resources to build out this program.

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