Students, teachers rally in the fight for air conditioners in classroms
Lawmakers say it could cost $2.5 million to upgrade electrical system; $10 to put AC units in every room
The fight to get air conditioning in public schools is heating up.
Students and teachers took their frustrations over overheated classrooms to the state capitol Thursday morning.
A cool school. It's what students from Campbell High School want, but don't have. The proof, they say, is what temperature gauges in the classrooms read -- too often in the 90s.
"It gets muggy and hot and there’s no circulation. You have to sit there and you’re wiping sweat and you can’t focus," said Campbell high school junior, Amanda Thirion.
But this plea for air conditioning at the state's largest high school is not new.
The education department said it understands the need for cooler classrooms. The problem is the money.
State lawmakers said it could cost $2.5 million just to upgrade the electrical system.
It would be an estimated $10 million to put AC units in every room.
State Representative Bob McDermott said as a parent of a Campbell High school student, he's got a vested interest in helping to get the money.
"We’re all working in concert on this and we’re gonna get some money this year, I’m sure of it," said McDermott, who represents the Ewa Beach area.
The teachers' union supports members who said it's not just one school in need. Twenty-four other schools across the state are urging lawmakers to make cooler classrooms a priority.
"Imagine a 6-year-old put into a classroom where it's over 90 degrees. I mean, if you did that in a car with the windows up, they’d arrest you," said Corey Rosenlee, a Campbell High School teacher.
The message they're hoping to get across -- it's time to get creative on how to fund AC.
"It can’t be this one school at a time, every four years. We need to start addressing the whole state and really solve this problem," said Rosenlee.
Whatever the outcome, for these students the rally, at the very least, is a lesson on civics and the democratic process.
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