Protecting Students and Staff, Improving Learning

Every school day in New Jersey, children, teachers and school staff face conditions that can cause illness or injury and that make it harder to teach and to learn. On average, New Jersey’s 2,500 school buildings are 50 years old and are four times more densely populated than office buildings. Age, overcrowding, and deferred maintenance strain ventilation, heating, plumbing, electrical systems, and waste energy. Students and staff in many schools are exposed to mold and other indoor air pollutants, triggering asthma attacks and absences due to illness. More than 20% of schools report conditions defined as “so potentially hazardous that they cause an imminent peril to the health and safety of students or staff.”


1. Safe and modernized school buildings. The N.J. Legislature must make funding available for school facilities projects. Currently the Schools Development Authority funding is completely allocated to projects and more funding is needed to address new construction and renovation projects. It is imperative we invest without delay.

2. Danger-free learning environments. As required by law, the N.J. Department of Education and Schools Development Authority must correct imminent dangers.

3. Healthy air. All schools should comply with state indoor air quality standards that are too often ignored. The N.J. Health Department should ensure that everyone understands the law and that it is followed.

4. Safe temperatures. The legislature should enact the Safe Temperatures Act, A1044/S1224,
to require school districts to have a plan to address extreme temperatures.


  • A school environment without extreme heat or cold, poor air circulation, mold, or toxic materials such as lead, asbestos, PCBs, and unsafe cleaning products.
  • A productive learning environment in which students have access to 21st century technology and are not distracted by rain coming through ceilings or cold winds blowing through windows.
  • A reduced rate of absenteeism, providing greater continuity for students, staff, and parents.
  • A boost to our economy and local tax base by creating 10,000 construction/renovation jobs annually.
  • A smart return on investment as we save money now spent or lost because of illnesses, absences, and energy waste. Updating each school’s energy efficiency can save an average of $100,000 a year.

View a photo collection of unsafe schools from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.


Healthy School Now



SDA Funding:

 Mercury in Flooring:

School Hazard Facts for Families Factsheet Series:

Cleaning & Disinfecting:

Lead in Drinking Water:

Lead in Drinking Water Reports:

Artificial Turf:


  • AFT/Newark Teachers Union
  • Badass Teachers Association
  • Bayonne Education Association
  • Camden County NAACP
  • Camden Education Association
  • Cedar Grove Education Association
  • Clifton Teachers’ Association
  • Code for Trenton
  • Communication Workers of America, Local 1039
  • East Orange Education Association
  • East Orange Maintenance Association
  • Education Law Center
  • Environment New Jersey
  • Esperanza Neighborhood Project of New Brunswick
  • Essex County Council for Young Children
  • Essex County Education Association
  • Franklin Lakes Education Association
  • Freehold Township Education Association
  • Garden State Coalition of Schools
  • Gateway Community Action Partnerships
  • Gloucester County Education Association
  • Hamilton Township Education Association
  • Hamilton Township Secretaries Association
  • Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
  • Isles
  • Jersey City PTA
  • LAN Associates
  • Latino Institute
  • League of Women Voters of NJ
  • LIUNA Local 78
  • Mercer Street Friends
  • Mercer County Education Association
  • Metuchen Edison NAACP
  • Middlesex County Education Association
  • Moms Clean Air Force
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  • Morris County Council of Education Associations
  • My Eternal Family
  • NAACP New Jersey State Conference
  • New Brunswick Education Association
  • New Jersey Association of Black Educators.
  • New Jersey Association of Schools Administrators
  • New Jersey Black Issues Convention
  • New Jersey Clean Water Action
  • New Jersey Communities United
  • New Jersey Community School Coalition
  • New Jersey Education Association
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  • New Jersey Parent Teacher Association
  • New Jersey Policy Perspective
  • New Jersey Principals & Supervisors Association
  • New Jersey School Boards Association
  • New Jersey Working Families Alliance
  • New Labor
  • NJ21United
  • Old Bridge Education Association
  • Our Children Our Schools
  • Oranges & Maplewood NAACP
  • Paramus Education Association
  • Parent Education Organizing Council
  • Passaic County Education Association
  • Paterson Education Association
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  • Perth Amboy Federation/AFT Local 857
  • Plainfield Education Association
  • Play It Safe Mahwah
  • Queens Mentoring Program
  • Save Our Schools NJ
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  • Somerset County Education Association
  • Statewide Education Organizing Committee
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  • Trenton Branch, NAACP
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  • Trenton United Parents and Community
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  • UIH Family Partners
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  • Union County Education Association
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