Parents and teachers vent about hot classrooms - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Parents and teachers vent about hot classrooms

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Parents, teachers and students pushed Tuesday night for changes to get air conditioning in San Diego Unified School District classrooms. 

The district reports a little more than a third of schools have air conditioning in all classrooms. Lafayette Elementary School does not have air conditioning. 

[RELATED INFORMATION: San Diego Unified School District - Air Conditioning (AC) Status Report]

Parents, teachers and students said it does not matter where their school is, they can't teach or learn when it's too hot, and they fear the next heat wave. 

"This is not worthy of our students. It's completely unacceptable. They are not thriving. They are wilting," said Challenger Middle School English teacher, KT Martin. 

On Tuesday night, teachers vented about limited or no air conditioning in San Diego Unified Schools, and still not letting students out early. They called it inhumane. 

"Literally sweat is just dropping off their face, and they are going like this [panting], can we go somewhere," said San Diego High School P.E., teacher Jill Schenk. 

Students also voiced their concerns. They said with classroom boiling, it makes it hard for teachers to concentrate on teaching them, making learning even worse. 

"I felt like an abusive parent sending her [daughter] to school," said Marci Shear. 

Only 59 percent of schools have air conditioning, and nearly 40 schools do not have air conditioning in any classroom, with or without instruction. 

The school superintendent put the issue of the districts hot weather plan on the agenda for discussion. 

Last year was the first time ever in San Diego Unified history a minimum day was scheduled because of a heat wave. The National Weather Service has to predict 95 degrees or warmer for the third day in a row in order for a minimum day to get the green light. 

Now, the superintendent is looking at ways for improvements. 

"There are some suggestions on how we can mitigate this, but we want to look at when that criteria would be, when do want to call it," said SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten. 

Teachers pleaded with the district to do what ever they have to to  get air conditioning or they are leaving. 

The superintendent said she would like to see more campus specific strategies in the hot weather plan. 

The board recommended staff to come up with a short-term plan by the end of September if another heat wave hits in October. 

A spokesperson for the school district said coastal schools have not been designated to get air conditioning using bond money. 

Putting air conditioning in all classrooms is estimated to cost about $200 million. 

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