Air conditioning debate heats up


by Caroline Griffin, Staff Writer

The lack of air-conditioning in the four elementary schools has been a pressing topic for years.

In early September, a second grade teacher at Richard E. Byrd School passed out due to the heat in her classroom.  This incident prompted the Glen Rock Board of Education to push for the installation of air conditioning units in each school.

Parents and students expressed their concern by speaking to administrators. Dr. Linda Weber, principal at Richard E. Byrd elementary school, said that the heat can be harmful to health and that stopgap accommodations have been and future changes will take place.

“I think that it’s only a couple times a year that it gets really hot in the classrooms, so for those days I imagine people would appreciate it. It doesn’t get that hot,” Weber said.  “This was a very unusual beginning of school where we had two weeks that were brutally warm.”

Due to the heat, the lack of a cooling system can detrimental to staff members and the student’s health.  Parents are concerned that their children are subject to uncomfortable classroom temperatures.

Although the majority of classrooms do not have air conditioning, the gym, library, faculty room and lunchroom have cooling units.  This gives students the opportunity to move away from the classrooms for a period of time throughout the school day.

“We have the children cycling through air conditioning and well hydrated,” Weber said.

The Glen Rock Board of Education has received complaints from parents with students attending these elementary schools periodically. Due to the recent incident,  more parents expressed concerns.

“Parents were very angry that the schools don’t have air conditioning, especially with the amount of money they pay on taxes,” said Liz Carr, a chairman of the operations committee on the Board of Education.  “They’re upset that the students and staff have to be subjected to the extreme conditions and don’t feel it’s fair middle school and high school has air conditioning and elementary schools do not.”

The highest temperatures often come in September during the first two or three weeks of school and during June when it begins to get hot again.

After taking everything into consideration, the Glen Rock Board of Education is currently undergoing stage one of operations toward the air conditioning issues.  On September 28, 2015, the Board of Education members met to discuss whether or not to proceed with the architectural estimate.

Since the Board of Education consists of a nine member, five of the nine members will need to vote in favor of the air conditioning to be given an estimate.

On November 9, 2015 the members will take this vote.

If this estimate is given approval, then stage two will be initiated in the following months.