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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.

Joe September 04, 2012 at 06:11 PM
How did we survive no AC in schools AND asbestos laden pipes and Nuclear Fallout Shelters back in the 60's?
Bart September 04, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Yeah, and walked barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways!
MC September 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Get the County Auditor to look into it, gotta warn you though, they havent issued an audit report in more than 2 years and have the highest payroll per employee in the County.
Parkvillehoney September 04, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I hope Baltimore County Public Schools cut their bloated administrators. We don't need multiple layers of paper pushers. Put the money back in the classroom.
pharmDn307 September 04, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Everyone says the same thing. How did we survive way back when with no ac? Let's look at a couple of factors. Kids seem to have more health issues now. Also the weather was not this hot even 10 to 20 years ago. Most modern facilities everywhere have ac. Most businesses would not even stay open if it were temporarily down. This is a case of haves and have nots. And it's the kids that pay the price for that.
Aysha September 04, 2012 at 08:15 PM
For one: global warming. Two: Did you have nearly 40 high school kids shoved in one advanced placement calculus classroom in May? Because that's the kind of issues students at Dulaney High School in Timonium - a pretty affluent school - are facing. Three: Your gym class was not like our gym class.
Tim September 04, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Knowing the stuff you post, Joe, it explains a lot, actually :)
Greg September 04, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I seriously think it might be time for a tax increase to fund education. 40 kids in a classroom and 36% of all schools being without air conditioning is unacceptable.
Other Tim September 04, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I went to school in the 60's. Had 40 kids in a class, and no a/c. Yammer and shout all you want about global warming, but the average temperature today is only about 1 degree warmer than it was 40 years ago. Like pharmDn307 says above, everybody today is used to a/c. This doesn't mean it is an absolute necessity. Most kids (especially at Perry Hall High) seem to somehow get through their 4 years, heat and all. Life's a bitch. Get used to it.
Jill Dudley Cohen September 05, 2012 at 12:19 AM
I AGREE!!!
Jill Dudley Cohen September 05, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Pikesville High School is a pressure cooker. The second floor is unbearable. There is full sun exposure on black metal panels. The roof is flat and absorbs the heat. It's no wonder we are losing strong students to private schools or they are requesting special transfers. If the county would shut off the air condition in jails, there would be extra money to air condition our schools.
JD1 September 05, 2012 at 10:56 AM
We didn't - have you looked at cancer rates in this area?
JD1 September 05, 2012 at 11:01 AM
It's not hotter now - its a question of acclimation. We have become accustomed to air conditioned homes, cars and businesses. If we were exposed to the heat all the time, our bodies would adjust. It's not that the kids are wimps. BCPS should have jumped on this back in then1970's and now they are paying the price for not prioritizing this. If they removed then AC from the front offices in these schools w/o school wide AC it would no doubt speed up the process. While administrators sit in their cool offices all fat and happy, there is no urgency to change.
JD1 September 05, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Let's use some central office staff to stand out at some intersections and borrow some boots from the local fire companies - works for Jerry's kids
JD1 September 05, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Agreed - AC should be shut off in all central office buildings until 100% of schools have AC.
M. Sullivan September 05, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Greg, you are more than welcome to send more of your money to the State for them to waste. We don't need more taxes, we need less waste and bureaucracy.
M. Sullivan September 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I agree, Other Tim. I wonder what these people consider an acceptable class size; 30, 20, 10 kids? How about we really raise taxes and have one teacher for every 2 students, recliners at their desks, advanced filtered climate control, gourmet organic lunches, individual fitness instructors, etc. No amount should be too high for the taxpayers to shell out to coddle the little darlings.
JD1 September 05, 2012 at 04:56 PM
In the 60's, if a kid failed it was their fault. Nobody questioned the teacher. You could pack 40 kids in a class because the entire model of instruction was different. Teachers spilled out information and the kids memorized it and took a test. Again,ifthenkid failed the test,it wasn't the teacher's fault. Now, teachers are held accountable for the performance of every kid despite their differences in readiness, learning style, disability ...etc. Until you have taught in a classroom in the past 10 years, you have NO IDEA what you are talking about regarding class sizes. As far as AC goes, see my previous post about temperature acclimation - its a scientific fact. By the way, it's not about "getting through 4 years" it's about providing the best possible learning environment for all kids.
Greg September 05, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Shutting off the air conditioning in the jails would not free up enough money to air condition the schools. It would probably result in a lawsuit from the ACLU. The county's probably doing the best it can do. However, money is a finite resource that the county clearly does not have enough of. If the city can pass a tax increase to fund their school facilities why can't we.
Kacey Shaw September 06, 2012 at 12:52 PM
What about the teachers and staff? Being 8 months pregnant in a sweltering school (yesterday's reading was 96 in my room, btw.) isn't healthy. Apparently the staff are as irrelevant as the kids.
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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