Does your child have new 21st century working water fountains in school?
Schools Drinking Water Project Update:
September 5, 2023--About 23,000 students and 4,000 staff at 32 Jersey City Public Schools begin the school year with safe drinking water from new fountains. More than 780 single fountains or units with water-bottle refilling capacity were installed; this means one drinking fountain for each pre-k and kindergarten classroom, as well as an expanded number of hallway fountain locations.
New city service lines, new water lines throughout school buildings, and new drinking fountains were installed at fifteen schools between June 2019 and July 2022. Seventeen more schools were completed during the 2022-23 school year. JC Together held water actions in October 2022 at PS 17 and in June 2023 at Lincoln High School to mark that progress. We appreciate the collaboration of the City, the JC Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) and its vendor Guarini Plumbing, and the Jersey City Public School District, and call on the School District to plan to continue this work for all children at all other public schools.
At the start of this new school year, there are still a dozen schools and four Early Childhood Centers with old fountains turned off and reliance on coolers with five-gallon jugs. District leadership has pledged to continue this water project to address these "Group 3" buildings this school year. Their consultant is finalizing specifications for the RFP. to be approved this Fall.
Jersey City Together continues to monitor this "Group 3" progress, while also monitoring the impact this whole project has for healthier schools. The investment in infrastructure, enabling students to stay hydrated, positively impacts health, learning potential, and environmental sustainability.
On 10/28/22, over 100 parents and caregivers, clergy, and community leaders from Jersey City Together gathered at PS 17 in Jersey City to celebrate the progress we have made in extending clean and safe drinking fountains in the public schools, and to press for more progress.
Since 2018, Jersey City Together has been advocating for safe, running drinking water to be available in every Jersey City public school. Because of our work:
14,500 students at 18 schools now have access to clean, safe drinking fountains,
5,000 additional students will gain access during this school year.
At our action, Superintendent Dr. Norma Fernandez made three commitments.
First, she committed to completing the work on the sixteen schools where water infrastructure and new fountains are being upgraded through a JCBOE-JCMUA Shared Services Agreement. The work will be completed at all of these schools by June 30, 2023.These schools are highlighted in orange in the graphic below.
Second, she committed to developing a plan for the twelve schools and early childhood centers that are not included in the current Shared Services Agreement with the JCMUA. These schools are highlighted in red below.
Third, Dr. Fernandez committed to continuing to publicly share information about progress on water remediation at regularly scheduled JCBOE meetings.
We thank Dr. Norma Fernandez of the Jersey City Public Schools and Mr. Joe Cunha of the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority for their work together to reach this point.
This was made possible by the hard work of our team of leaders; you can check out the timeline of our water advocacy here.