California lawmakers trying to approve statewide mandatory lead testing have been met with strong opposition from some school districts that fear dealing with positive tests would cripple their bank balance.
The State Water Board released data showing that as of July, only 11 percent of the 13,000 K-12 schools signed up for free testing after it was made available at the beginning of the year.
When California lawmakers introduced the proposal to mandate lead testing, they made adjustments after strong opposition from school districts. The latest bill, AB 746, would require schools to test and shut off the water if the tests find elevated lead levels. However, the schools wouldn’t have to replace the fixtures and faucets, a concession meant to reduce the opposition, said the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.
Gonzalez Fletcher said that while the bill does not provide any long-term solutions, it’s an important first step. “One of the reasons we introduced this bill is because we know schools are afraid to know the extent of the problem – and that’s not good enough,” she said.