BCPS Releasing School Air Conditioning Priority List

The list will be presented at a Sept. 18 Board of Education meeting.

Hot weather makes Jamie Pappas' daughter "very cranky."

The first grade student at l has asked her mother to stay home from school, especially on days she has gym class. The school has classrooms without air conditioning.

"And it's really sad because she loves school," said Pappas, head of the school's Climate Control Committee with the Parent Teacher Association.

She said the committee has compiled a list of students with diabetes, sickle cell anemia, asthma and those prone to seizures and strokes who have a more pressing need for cool classrooms.

A thermometer from one of the classrooms at 11 a.m. Aug. 29 showed the temperature at 90 degrees, according to a reading recorded by Pappas. She said readings have regularly showed temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

"There are parents that rotate bringing in popsicles to students to keep them cool," she said. "I just thought that was appalling."

During a Baltimore County Board of Education meeting on Sept. 18, officials plan to release a priority list of schools needing air conditioning.

"Our goal is to get all our schools air conditioned," Superintendent S. Dallas Dance said on Thursday.

County officials have it would cost between $400 and $450 million to install air conditioning in schools that are without it. If Dance's is approved, 45 county schools will still remain without air conditioning.

Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman, said in July that schools are picked for air conditioning based on speed of completion and cost.

Parents at such as Lutherville Lab, and Westowne Elementary schools have complained that the selection process overlooks their students.

Pappas questioned how Lutherville Lab could be evaluated if feasibility studies have not yet been conducted. She noted that portions of the school including the front office, computer laboratory and faculty lounge already have air conditioning. The studies are generally conducted after a school has been slated for a renovation.

"[The school system's physical facilities department] is pretty familiar with the state of the schools," said Charles Herndon, a Baltimore County Public Schools spokesman. "We look for where the critical needs are and where we can devote the resources we have."

Herndon pointed out that the Department of Physical Facilities will often add air conditioning infrastructure to schools that need it if there is already a renovation for something else scheduled.

"If the opportunity is there, we'll take advantage of it," he said.

Frank The Breadman September 06, 2012 at 11:08 PM
More hot air. You know, for a county employee you sure do post a lot during business hours. Part of your job description?
Joe September 06, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Do not tell me you are REQUIRED to be "in a sweltering school (yesterday's reading was 96 in my room, btw.) isn't healthy" as a county employee!
Joe September 06, 2012 at 11:13 PM
"In the 60's, if a kid failed it was their fault. " As I said, in the 60's many did not have AC!
Baltimore County Parent September 07, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Kacey - Please join the FB group "Citizens for an Accountable Baltimore County School Board" and share your school heat issues with the group! We are gathering data on schools all over the county that still don't have basic climate control. These stories are needed! Go to: http://www.facebook.com/groups/accountableschoolboard/
Mister Mike September 09, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I think there is a combination of problems here. One - as a society we have become soft and weak. We are so coddled and we especially over protect our kids that they will have no idea how to take care of themselves as adults. We have become so accustomed to a secondary, man-made, indoor environment that we don't know how to deal with diversity. That being said I do agree that it is so hypocritical that adminstratives offices, and jails, have A/C and our classrooms don't. It shows a continued lack of priorities. Not for the students, but for the teachers that are doing the real work.


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