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New York Program

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With the country’s third-largest K-12 public education system, New York State is a special focus of our work.

Supported by a broad-based coalition led by Healthy Schools Network, New York State has adopted nation-leading environmental reform policies embodied in the five-point, child-centered Guiding Principles for Improving School Environmental Quality. Since our founding in 1995, Healthy Schools Network has worked to secure new laws, funding, and regulations to promote healthier school environments, including our first win, $125M in the 1996 NYS Environmental Quality Bond Act to replace coal-fired boilers in NYC and Buffalo public schools, followed by many more root policy reforms such as: a surveillance system for public school facilities, testing for testing and remediating lead in school drinking waterprotecting occupant health in schools under renovationnotice of pesticide use, bans on herbicides on school and park grounds, bans on arsenic and elemental mercury, and an executive order requiring all state agencies and a law requiring all public and private schools to use green cleaning products.

In 2022, we secured eligibility for districts to receive funding from the NYS $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act, approved by 67% of voters.


As champions for children’s environmental health, our campaigns include:

  • Healthy and High Performance School Design
  • Eliminating Toxics & Safer Substitutes: Green Cleaning and Healthy Products
  • Children’s Environmental Health Protection
  • School Climate Resiliency and Mitigation


Recent Issues

  • COVID-ready K-12 Schools 
  • Climate-ready K-12 Schools
  • Indoor Air in Schools
  • Expanding use of green products in schools
  • Lead in Schools: Drinking Water (2016 and 2021 state laws)
  • Improving school facility design and operations
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