Grant to Fight Lead Contaminated Water

POUGHKEEPSIE – Saying “children need safe water,” Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D, Newburgh), announced recently he secured $50,000 from Albany to help fight lead contaminated water plaguing Poughkeepsie City School District facilities.

Jacobson, flanked by school board members, parents, students, and Guidance Counselor Franky Perez, stood by a covered, out-of-service water fountain at the middle school that has tested positive for lead contamination.

In his announcement, Jacobson said at the end of the session, he was able to secure the funding for remediation. “I couldn’t think of a better way for a school district to spend it. Children need safe water to drink.”

One of the parents in attendance pointed out a 2019 graduate of Poughkeepsie High School who was present at the announcement; Lamar Wint. He is credited with bringing the water fountain issue to the attention of the school board a few years ago when he was a track athlete.

Wint said that he needed to drink a gallon of water a day and when the school district prohibited students from bringing their own water bottles, he was disappointed. He recalled filling a water bottle from a sink in the bathroom. “It was disgusting. When I turned the tap on, the water was red.”

School Board President Dr. Felicia Watson said she met with Jacobson shortly after he took office and presented him with a “laundry list” of problems with which the school district needed help; one of those being the water woes. “You came through – you delivered!” Watson told Jacobson in the hallway of Poughkeepsie Middle School. School board member Deborah Long told Jacobson “we’ll be coming back for more.”

Cornelia Harris has two children in Poughkeepsie schools and she serves on the Wellness Committee. Harris said that the plan is for each building in the district to receive at least one “water bottle filling-station/water fountain” on each floor of the building. “We need to encourage students to drink water and the water needs to be clean.”

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