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CPS Can't Keep Track Of How Many Schools Have Air Conditioning

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 29, 2013 7:20PM

Photo credit: Ann Fisher

As temperatures this week reached over 90 degrees, students at many Chicago Public Schools beginning their year found themselves without air conditioning. Units were installed at the 50 “welcoming schools” this summer, about 2,400 in 2,000 classrooms, but students at many other schools were still sweltering in the heat when the first bells rang.

A parent from Ravenswood Elementary told Sun-Times reporter Lauren Fitzpatrick only two tuition-based preschool classrooms have units, because parents pooled their money to buy them. “Of course, we weren’t a welcoming school, so there was never a chance of getting it,” said the parent.

Fitzpatrick has kept a running tally of other instances of sweltering classrooms, including:

  • One classroom at Lincoln Park High School reaching over 100 degrees on Wednesday.
  • No AC at Lane Tech, except for the computer labs.
  • A new building at Goethe Elementary has air conditioning but is already broken, while the main building has none.

Additionally, even some of the units installed at the welcoming schools have already failed. NBC5 reported Tuesday a transformer near Mollison Elementary School blew because the new units overtaxed it. Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said CPS should have informed ComEd of the new units, but failed to do so.

More than likely, CPS couldn’t have informed the electric company of the new units, because it still doesn’t know how many it has. A chart from Catalyst Chicago shows 12 percent of schools do not have information on whether or not they have air conditioning units, and another 37 percent report they have “partial” air, with no other clarification.

After NBC5 reporter Mary Ann Ahern pressed the matter on Twitter, CPS spokesperson Becky Carroll had this to say: "We don't have an updated number yet which we told you earlier today. What else would you like us to do if we don't actually have the numbers?"

Keep it classy, Becky!