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High Schools Top Air Conditioning Priority List

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

Ahead of a Sept. 18 Board of Education in county schools, the school system has posted a priority list ranking schools most in need.

County and school officials have previously stated that schools are selected for air conditioning infrastructure based on jobs that can be done at the lowest cost and the most quickly. Notably, high schools are listed as the highest priority, followed by elementary schools and then middle schools.

Charles Herndon, a school system spokesman, said a full explanation of the list will be provided at the meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Greenwood administrative campus. He speculated that the decision to prioritize high schools was made because it would impact more students, given those schools have higher populations.

At Westowne Elementary School's Back-to-School Night on Thursday, Comptroller Peter Franchot condemned the school system for having about 40 percent of its schools without air conditioning. He said Anne Arundel County Public Schools faced the same dilemma about 10 years ago, but remedied the situation in about a year by installing low-cost window units. Franchot argued that it cost about $100,000 per Anne Arundel public school and disputed claims by Baltimore County officials that total cost could top $400 million.

"I guarantee you that every elected official in Baltimore County works in an air conditioned office," he said.

Franchot, an avid supporter of air conditioning classrooms, did praise Superintendent S. Dallas Dance for taking the air conditioning issue seriously. He had previously Dance's predecessor, Joe Hairston, for not including air conditioning in his fiscal year 2013 capital budget proposal. Franchot sits on the Maryland Board of Public Works, which is responsible for approving the county capital budget.

"[Dance] doesn't look very old but he's actually a very impressive professional," he joked.

While Franchot primarily stuck to discussing the county wide air conditioning issue Thursday night, he is planning to work closely with Westowne families to champion their cause. Franchot plans to attend Westowne's Oct. 3 parent teacher association meeting to discuss strategy specifically for the Catonsville school. The comptroller was successful in a similar effort for Middleborough Elementary School in Essex.

"I'm thrilled that he's here," said , president of Westowne's parent teacher association. "We've been fighting this for 14 years and hopefully his support will give us some traction."

The school system has listed the schools in the following priority order:

  • Overlea High School
  • Patapso High School
  • Kenwood High School
  • Franklin High School
  • Woodlawn High School
  • Lansdowne High School
  • Dulaney High School
  • Colgate Elementary School
  • Dundalk Elementary School
  • Chase Elementary School
  • Victory Villa Elementary School
  • Westowne Elementary School
  • Villa Cresta Elementary School
  • Berkshire Crest Elementary School
  • Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Campfield Center Elementary School
  • Bear Creek Elementary School
  • Kingsville Elementary School
  • Oakleigh Elementary School
  • Wellwood Elementary School
  • Edmonson Heights Elementary School
  • Featherbed Lane Elementary School
  • Pleasant Plains Elementary School
  • Battle Grove Elementary School
  • Baltimore Highlands Elementary School
  • Grange Elementary School
  • Orems Elementary School
  • Scotts Branch Elementary School
  • Bedford Elementary School
  • Chapel Hill Elementary School
  • Charlesmont Elementary School
  • Halstead Academy Elementary School
  • Eastwood Elementary School
  • Pot Spring Elementary School
  • Reisterstown Elementary School
  • Carney Elementary School
  • Lansdowne Elementary School
  • Joppa View Elementary School
  • Dumbarton Middle School
  • Franklin Middle School
  • Golden Ring Middle School
  • Stemmers Run Middle School
  • Parkville Middle School
  • Arbutus Middle School
  • Middle River Middle School
  • Southwest Academy Middle School
  • Alternative Centers

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Calm down September 14, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Franchot is such a grand stander. Like he has anything to do with how funding decisions are made in Baltimore County.
Tim September 14, 2012 at 05:21 PM
It's very interesting to see the 'priority' list for the County, moving forward.
Kristin Strong September 14, 2012 at 05:35 PM
If lawmakers had to do their jobs in non-air-conditioned buildings during the months of May, June, and August, they might have different priorities.
Craig September 14, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Not sure about you Kristin, but I among most of us, went to school in non air conditioned schools; and homes as well. The great majority turned out pretty good. Air condition is better but lets try to teach and learn.
Kim Davis Morgan September 14, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Well my school isn't on the list so I'm not happy.
Kim Davis Morgan September 14, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Craig come teach in 100degree weather with humidity for a few days...see how you feel!!!!
mommaof sy September 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Some of the beaurocrats need to come into our classrooms and see what it is like for us and the students. Not fun and not easy. Sweating and not being able to breathe does not bode well for a conducive learning environment.
moe green September 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM
the teachers are hot a couple of days a year. too damn bad. so the taxpayers have to be burdened with another huge bill. if they do not like the working conditions, quit. the hell with the whinners. the taxpayer is not an unlimited cash register
Concerned Mom September 15, 2012 at 02:38 PM
moe green- you are a hateful, misinformed person who should crawl back into the cave that you probably live in!
Concerned Mom September 15, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Why isn't Lutherville Lab on the list? Seriously?
Jill Dudley Cohen September 16, 2012 at 11:06 AM
What happened to Pikesville High? Moe Green, you'll be burning up soon enough.
JD1 September 16, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Okay BCPS - I get it. The "money" simply doesn't exist. If that's the case than halt any other capital projects that have no impact on instruction such as those that are currently taking place or have been completed in the past two years such as: new stage lights, new cabinets and lab tables in science classrooms, new outdoor tracks, resurfacing of parking lots, planting trees, new playground equipment, relocating offices, replacement of office furniture, replacement of lighting fixtures, installing gas jets for Bunsen burners in middle schools (which don't even use them), resurfacing of gymnasium floors, sodding of athletic fields, replacement of outdoor bleachers, and long jump and shot put facilities. Put a hold on replacement of textbooks that are less than five years old. Stop issuing iPads to some schools. Halt thuan to replace dell PC's with Mac products. Stop purchasing instructional technology that simply adds "bells and whistles" with little impact on instruction. Eliminate some full time staff in central offices and use part time temporary workers to perform clerical duties. Eliminate useless politically correct departments that have become the final resting place for ineffective staff and teachers such as "The Office of Equity and Assurance" and do very little to mpact instruction that couldn't be done by other departments.
JD1 September 16, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Eliminate costly and useless projects such as the ISO quality assurance program that is one of the latest "cash cows.". Eliminate the assess trax system that actually restricts and complicates the assessment process. As you can see, no AC has nothing to do with the availability of funds. It has to do with poor choices, poor management and lining of pockets. Make the changes listed above and BCPS would have more than enough cash to air condition schools and probably build indoor pools at every facility!
Joe September 16, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Do the Principles offices and teachers lounges all have AC? Or just not the classrooms?
JD1 September 16, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Yes - offices have AC. Not sure if teacher lounges do or not - I'm guessing that most have at least a window unit.
Concerned Mom September 16, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Thank you JD1- someone out there really gets it- it's ashame that more people don't!
Concerned Mom September 16, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Here is some interesting perspective: BCPS just distributed their yearly calendars. Because of a printing error, they have to reprint ALL of the calendars which cost the county a HALF A MILLION DOLLARS! I am outraged and I wonder why more people are not as angry as I and demand that the waste in BCPS stop. They care more about some worthless calendars than the health of children and staff members. It is a travesty and a sad commentary of the bureaucracy bull crap that is allowed to continue!
Concerned Mom September 16, 2012 at 03:26 PM
At Lutherville Lab Elementary, the front offices, library, teachers lounge, and computer lab all have air conditioning. Not window units but HVAC units which makes it hard to understand why they can't put HVAC into all of the classrooms when the building is already set up for it. It's just a matter of connecting the existing classroom vents to a new rooftop unit. What is the problem?
JD1 September 16, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Another gat example of the waste and misappropriation of funds. Forget the fact that the calendar is on the county website and doesn't have to be printed.
Joe September 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM
http://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/en/consumer/2012-comfort-debate An easy seemingly efficient way to AC rooms or group of rooms. As long as they have windows.
Joe September 16, 2012 at 08:39 PM
9000 BTU for $860. 36,000 BTU for $2800. For a 15' x 30' room it needs about 18,000 BTU. For the above system it would be $1150 to $1800 per unit + installation. Do a mass purchase and save even more. Is this more cost efficient than central AC. These units can be turned on and off as needed since they are locally controlled. If one breaks down no other room or rooms are effected. HAs the County looked at these systems used world wide because of their cost efficiency ease of use calculations?
Jordan September 17, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Not too sure about you Craig, but its definitely a challenge to sit in a class with no air conditioning on a 95 degree day and pay attention. Every single student and teacher are completely drained from the heat that nothing can truly get accomplished.
PTAmom September 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Air conditioning our schools should not be a fight. This should have been done decades ago by those who were making decisions. Other Maryland counties have already acknowledge air conditioning as a necessity and took care of it.
JD1 September 17, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Yep - two more great examples.
PerryHallParent September 17, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I agree wholeheartedly. I never, ever use the printed version and recycle it the day it comes home or shred it for strong packing material. I long ago scaled back my use of paper and use electronic means whenever possible. It's like the fliers that come home continuously from school. I don't need a letter printed telling me there was a shooting at Perry High Senior High and that the county is concerned and is looking into securing better safety protocols etc. What a waste. Concerning the A/C issue, yes, I went through twelve years of private school with no air conditioning and survived. I also had limited A/C at home. However, in today's world, most kids live in air conditioned homes. When I visited my child's hot classroom this past Spring, it was over 95 degrees and horribly humid and thick in there. Truly not conducive to learning at all. Not even a fan was going and the air was still. If some students and staff get A/C, then it should be for all. Period. You can't pick and choose who gets it.
Chelle September 20, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I believe we should not fight over air conditioning our schools. There should be no list and if it is then ALL our schools should be on that list. Arbutus Elementary did not even make the list. I find it to be crazy that this is even a problem. All schools should have air conditioning and thats the fact. There are far more issues that should be fight over then air condition.
Laura September 30, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Arbutus ES, Lutherville Lab, Pikesville HS, and more are already slated to have AC installed in 2013 & 2014, according to the Sun paper, so their names are not on the list. Hopefully they find the money, because as a teacher on the second floor of a non-AC building, I can tell you firsthand that the environment I teach in is not the most conducive for productive learning.
PTAmom September 30, 2012 at 01:30 AM
JD1, You said it! All that technology will be obsolete by the time I finish writing this comment. Poor choices and poor management that we (parents and taxpayers) let continue to happen. How do we change this? I've attended the Northeast Educational Advisory meetings, where sometimes I'm the only person in the audience. Maybe this momentum has to happen like how the Towson United families organized themselves to get their school built...A simple message repeated over and over again by all.
Mona October 27, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I'm with Craig....my kids are going on 9 years in these schools with no A/C and when asked say they never notice it...it simply isn't a big deal to them. The teachers I talk to rarely complain either...it's a parent issue along with lots of other "problems".
Concerned Mom October 27, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Mona- You obviously don't work in one of these schools- so it's hard to respect your opinion!

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