Why Don’t We Have A/C In All Classrooms?
By SHYANNE HINDS
Opening the window or the classroom door seems to be the only solution to an on-going problem in the school: not having air conditioners in every classroom.
“Summer days in Midwood are horrible!” said Madge Franck ’21, echoing a common sentiment.
So why don’t we have air conditioners in every classroom?
“Our mayor made an announcement that every classroom in every school will get air conditioning at a certain point,” said Mr. Alan Stack, the assistant principal of organization. “Therefore, if the city initiative is taking place to put in A/C’s in the near future, it’d be foolish to spend school budget on it now, knowing they’re coming, and waste that school budget.”
“School budget is for books, classes, tutoring, desks, chairs, teachers, new doors, safety, security, everything,” he said.
According to the Department of Education (DOE) budget rules, the city can pay to wire schools for air conditioning. It has earmarked $50 million for school data wiring upgrades in its five year capital plan, some of which will be allocated to air conditioning.
The DOE has not yet selected the schools where it plans to upgrade wiring next, but Deputy Chancellor for Operations Elizabeth Rose told the City Council at a May budget hearing that schools with the fewest classrooms with air conditioning will get priority.
Nearly 95 percent of school buildings have at least some air conditioning, said DOE spokeswoman Toya Holness. But that statistic did not distinguish between classrooms, offices, cafeterias, nurse’s offices, and other spaces.
That leaves schools having to make the choice between spending their individual budgets on teachers and textbooks or on air conditioning.
However, many students don’t want to wait and hope for the city to fulfill their promises.
Khala Pellew ’20 said, “I can’t learn in an uncomfortable environment. I also have a history of fainting, and the heat triggers it, so I need to be cool if I’m sitting in a classroom for 45 minutes.”
Students aren’t the only ones who get bothered by the intolerable heat. Teachers also have trouble being in classrooms without anything to fight off the heat we experience, even in winter.
Ms. Imani Taylor understands the reasoning behind Midwood’s wait-and-see approach, but she feels there’s more the Midwood community could do.
“I would like to put the pressure on the mayor to fulfill his promise,” she said, “by taking the issue to social media or creating a campaign.”
“It is difficult at times to teach students who are irritated by the climate in the classrooms,” Ms. Taylor said. “It would be helpful to have air conditioning in each class because even during the winter, the heat is always on blast, and sometimes the A/C is needed then as well.”
Chloe Adeleke ’20 said, “I believe that the mayor needs to specify when A/Cs will be implemented in all the classrooms. If the mayor wants to carry out this plan in a year or two then it makes sense for Midwood to save the money and put it towards other things. However, if the plan is going to be put into place in five years, Midwood should not wait that long.”
“Students cannot work to the best of their ability in an extremely hot classroom,” Adeleke said.