Question: Why is it that at the high school you don't have the air conditioning on? My daughter says that some of the rooms upstairs feels like they are 90 degrees. After getting all these grants and the budget passing, I would think we could afford to run the air.
Answer: Thank you for the question! First, regarding grants, grant funds must be used to pay for specific programs -- they can't be used to supplement regular district operating costs (click here for more details). As for the budget passing last week, that's the budget for the 2013-14 school year, which begins July 1, and therefore doesn't influence whether the air conditioner runs during the current school year.
Now, to the heart of your question. Turning on the air conditioner at the high school is nothing like turning on the air conditioner at your home. The 40-ton unit that sits on the roof above the high school media center takes two full days to get up and running at full capacity, and it costs a lot of money every time we turn it on and off. In fact, it costs more than $11,000 to run the air conditioner at the high school for a month.
Because of this, we operate all the air conditioners in the district based on historical trends for hot weather. That means, for example, if we get an unusual heat wave for a week in the middle of March, it wouldn't be cost-effective for us to turn on the air conditioner for that week. An occasional hot day also can't be helped since the air conditioners take so long to turn on. However, the air conditioner at the high school will be on for most of the rest of the school year, including days when students are taking Regents and local exams.
Keep in mind that we do NOT have air conditioning throughout all of our buildings -- in general, air conditioning is limited to the newer parts of our buildings. The best advice we can give to our students, faculty and staff is to plan to encounter different temperatures in the buildings and to dress in layers during the spring and early fall.
- answered by Stephen Tomlinson, Superintendent of Schools