The heat is on to cool public schools

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The Department of Education and lawmakers are on the hot seat.

Students and teachers at a dozen public schools want to know why they have to suffer inside classrooms with temperatures reaching the 90s.

Five hundred Campbell High School students and teachers can’t handle the heat of their classrooms any longer and are fired up.

“Some rooms don’t have a breeze or a fan and it gets too much,” Campbell High School junior Amanda Thirion said.

They say the Ewa Beach school can become unbearable. They call some classrooms “cinderblock ovens.”

“Fans don’t supply enough cool air, only supply circulation,” Thirion said.

“Nine thousand classrooms, according to DOE without AC. That’s what we’re focusing on,” Campbell High School teacher Corey Rosenlee said.

At Campbell High School, only a quarter of classrooms have air conditioning, but the rest of students say they’re suffering.

KHON2 went to Campbell High School to see exactly how hot it gets. Inside the classrooms, the temperature reached 85 degrees. This was on a day when it was raining and overcast.

“They should be upset or if they are upset, as long as they understand the facts,” said Ray L’Heureux with the Department of Education Office of School Facilities and Support Services.

The DOE says they have a priority list of schools slated to get AC. Campbell High School is fourth on that list.

But L’heureux says the big hold up is that money is tight.

First, the campus needs $2.5 million in electrical upgrades.

“Just doing the structural work to accommodate that system is huge. It is a huge capital improvement project,” L’heureux said.

It will then cost another $13 million to install the air conditioning system.

“This legislature needs to take action they can’t keep passing the buck along,” Rosenlee said.

“There are ways to do it. We are looking for revenue neutral opportunities and I’m in discussions with the DOE on that,” said Rep. Bob McDermott (R) Ewa.

In the meantime, the DOE is taking other steps to cool classrooms across the state like adding solar-powered ventilators and more insulation.

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