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Philadelphia seems poised to take steps to make things right. City Council's proposed FY19 budget will provide $180 million to schools to help resolve the district's projected operating deficit, and Gov. Wolf recently called for adoption of a funding formula that will benefit the majority of students in the state. These actions are encouraging, and with the support of the community, much can be accomplished.

Closing the funding gap requires a better understanding of school building conditions in our communities, including accessible information about school indoor air quality, as well as student health and performance. From there, the power rests with taxpayers and voters. Support public funding for school facilities by voting; and once funding is secured, ask for community oversight and pay attention to how funds are spent. A follow-up to the 2016 State of Our Schools report details more recommendations.

Changing how public schools are planned, managed, and funded requires a long-term outlook. The magnitude of what's at stake – our children's future – should compel us to work with our school districts, not against them.

Anisa Heming is director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.