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UPDATE: So hot today in the CPS schools without AC

Some parents have wondered how CPS, which is to put it mildly cash-strapped, found money to put AC in some schools but not others:

While new air conditioners hummed along at some 50 “welcoming schools” that took in students from CPS’ record number of closed schools, Portage Park Elementary School kids were among students spending another super-sweaty first day in 90-plus-degree temperatures.

Portage Park, which was not assigned to receive kids from closed school, isn’t entirely air-conditioned, said Victoria Benson, the Local School Council chair and parent of two, and probably can’t be because CPS estimated the cost of upgrading the wiring in the old part of the building as a small fortune.

Monday “was so bad. And the building, my one son’s on the non-air-conditioned side. My little guy has an air-conditioned room. It’s not stifling like the other end, but it’s not like air-conditioned,” she said Tuesday. “Three floors are connected to the old building but there’s no close off.”

Kindergartners were a sweaty mess, said Benson, who volunteered Monday as an extra set of hands. And the third floor of the old building, where the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are housed, gave off a powerful smell of adolescence in the heat.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent directions to principals and their bosses instructing hot schools on days like Tuesday, when temperatures were predicted to hit 95.

CPS still can’t provide exact current numbers for which schools have full AC, which have some and which have none. All its “welcoming schools” now have AC if they did not before; this summer the district installed 2,400 air conditioning units in 2,000 classrooms. ***The district told the school utilization commission in December it had:

  • 83 campuses with “no cooling”: campus has with no AC/Dehumidification and may only have a minimal number of windows units serving only administrative spaces. No classrooms are air conditioned.
  • 269 campuses with “partial cooling”: Campus has window air conditioning units in at least one classroom OR campus has multiple buildings and at least one of the buildings has full AC/dehumidification (but not all buildings have full A/C). At least one classroom has air conditioning.
  • 216 campuses with “full cooling”: All buildings on the campus have AC/Dehumidification OR the campus has a combination of AC/Dehumidification and window units serving every classroom. Every classroom is air conditioned

***Meanwhile, Apples to Apples located a spreadsheet online regarding an audit of Energy Star data at many CPS facilities from April 1, 2011.

Solomon Elementary School 6206 N Hamlin, where about 20 percent of students are special education, were of 87 degrees by 9 a.m. on the west side of the school building, according to LSC chair Tammy Stams. Common spaces have air conditioning but not classrooms, she said: the lunchroom, the library.

“I give the individuals inside the school great props for doing what they need to do to keep these kids cool,” she said. “They’re working really hard to see to it everybody’s comfortable and safe as it can be.”

She said her school raised some money toward air conditioners and got a state grant for the rest but was waiting for CPS to make a decision on how to proceed.

Meanwhile, Stams wanted to keep her son, an 8th grader who uses a wheelchair, at home.

“He wanted to tough it out,” she said. “He wanted to go.”

Anecdotally, I found a few more examples. Here’s a map. Send me more?

  • UPDATE: Ravenswood Elementary. Parent said Thursday that two tuition-based preschool classrooms in the school – supposedly the oldest in the city built in 1873 – are the only ones with AC because parents pooled their money a few years ago to buy the units. “Of course, we weren’t a welcoming school, so there was never a chance of getting it. As a parent, it annoys me that CPS gave AC to welcoming schools, but is content to let the other students sweat it out. Ridiculous,” she said.
  • UPDATE: Burr Elementary. Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, said Thursday that the school is without and has been asking for at least the last few years. And a Burr mother said Wednesday night her 4th grader was home sick on Tuesday, after perfect attendance last year.
  • UPDATE: Spencer Technology Academy. Staffer said Thursday most of the building has AC, but the third floor – the hottest – does not. Seven classrooms up there contain middle schoolers – one for special needs students. Another special ed room downstairs has AC but it isn’t working. One classroom’s clock thermometer recorded 92 over the last couple of days. “We’re using class time to line up children to go get them water,” the staffer said. Teachers are bringing in their own fans and water. Kids are itchy and angry — “Tempers are flaring with the temperatures,” the staffer said. All the water fountains don’t work properly either.
  • UPDATE: Lincoln Park High School. Report Wednesday of one classroom reaching 100 degrees on Tuesday.
  • UPDATE: Lane Tech High School. Student said Wednesday evening there’s no AC in building except for computer labs and he’s in 8 or 9 classrooms a day. “In my physics class, there’s a thermometer at the front of the class. It was over 90 the first 2 days. Today it was 86. I’m trying to drink a lot of water and all of the teachers brought in fans from their house… I don’t know of anyone fainting. but after the first day, I had a really bad headache after school because i didn’t have enough water. There are water fountains all around the place but that’s it.” No bottled water handed out but students are allowed to carry bottles to class.
  • UPDATE: Goethe Elementary School‘s new building has AC but it’s broken in at least one classroom. Portable unit not big enough for the room containing 27 people, says a mom. “The room is hot enough that they have spent time in the hall and in another teacher’s classroom.” No AC at all in main building, mom says, because it’s too expensive.
  • UPDATE: Gallistel Elementary Language Academy, measured 95 degrees in branch office, hotter in classrooms on Tuesday, 82 degrees in branch office, hotter in classrooms on Wednesday
  • UPDATE: Courtenay Elementary, a “welcoming school”, had no AC all day in main building as well as a mandatory professional development session from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
  • “No extra fans, no water provided for students nor staff!” according to a teacher. “Rooms had to be in the 90s and above on the second and third floors. Unhealthy, unsafe, and learning under duress!”
  • Reports out of the not-air-conditioned Mount Greenwood Elementary School on Monday claimed indoor temperatures of more than 95 degrees. A gym class had to walk to the park and back without water, according to a parent.