One local politician has launched a petition that would cool off students and teachers in more than 10,000 public schools across the five boroughs.
The petition, which boasts the hashtag #TooHotToLearn, calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio to allocate funding for new air conditioning units for city public schools in this spring’s executive budget, with the hopes of equipping all schools by the end of five years.
“More than 10,000 NYC public school classrooms (about 25%) don’t have air-conditioning,” reads the petition, which is now live on Councilmember Brad Lander’s website. “Neither do hundreds of school auditoriums, cafeterias, kitchens, or gyms. On increasingly hot days, that means sweltering classrooms. Some have reached 100 degrees. In that heat, students experience headaches, dehydration, and are too lethargic to focus. Students with asthma can’t even safely attend.”
According to Community Education Council 20 President Laurie Windsor, the units are currently funded by Parent Teacher Associations.
“It’s ridiculous that the PTAs have to fundraise to pay for the ACs,” she told this paper. “Otherwise, there is no other way for a school to obtain them.”
In the petition (which provides more info on the issue), the New York City Council calls on the city to create a five-year plan to provide air conditioning in every classroom and public space, as well as allocate $100 million in the School Construction Authority’s current Five-Year Capital Plan to get started on the electrical work needed to bring the units to all schools and provide $5.5 million annually for five years to purchase the units.
In addition, it requests that the city prioritize buildings that offer summer school, including District 75 schools for students with disabilities.
“How can we expect teachers to teach, or students to learn in these conditions?” posed the petition, seemingly penned by Lander, which, to date, has garnered close to 1,000 signatures.