On Thursday January 26, 2023 we voiced support for the County Executive to ensure funding for the PGCPS Climate Change Action Plan, to end funding for synthetic turf, and to fund safer streets for students to walk and bike to school on.
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Thank you, County Executive Alsobrooks for this opportunity to address you on the FY24 budget.
My name is Joseph Jakuta and the lead volunteer for Climate Parents of Prince Georges.
Climate Parents is a campaign to reduce climate change causing pollution in our schools, and our group is active in Prince George’s County. In particular, we recently worked directly with Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) technical staff and other advocates to develop a first in the national School Climate Change Action Plan.
PGCPS will certainly ask for funds in regards what is necessary to implement their Climate Change Action Plan which was constructed as a complement to the one adopted by the County Council.
Support should be provided for what they need to implement this, including, but not limited to, funding for solar installations, energy management, electric buses, food waste reduction, climate friendly foods, electric heat pump HVACs, and green infrastructure.
Additionally, PGCPS’s CEO Monica Goldson recently announced the school system will discontinue installation of new synthetic turf fields. We ask that the County commit to ending funding for new synthetic turf fields on their park properties as well. This both helps the environment, children’s health, and alleviates ballooning end-of-life costs to the county.
The county also has a role in making our streets safe for walkers and bikers. Students do not have access to buses in our county if they are within 1 1/2 mile of elementary schools and 2 miles of other schools. Those students need safe routes to school. They need better investments in sidewalks, bike lanes, and traffic safety. And the county must prioritize that over road expansion.
Last, but certainly not least, we cannot have a sustainable future without a stable functioning democracy. In 2018 legislation (CB-99-2018) was passed allowing for matching funds of election candidates in Prince George’s County, but this Fair Election Fund has yet to be budgeted. The FY24 budget must include the funds to allow this program to flourish.