For schools, AC is likely on the way | October 14, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 14, 2022

For schools, AC is likely on the way

Hot days prompt district to fast-track air-conditioning installation

by Zoe Morgan

After facing multiple sweltering days already this school year, the Palo Alto Unified School District is looking at options to fast-track the addition of air conditioning to elementary and middle school classrooms.

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Email Staff Writer Zoe Morgan at [email protected]


Posted by Amy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:55 pm

Amy is a registered user.

The classrooms are so hot for these kids! It’s too bad that back when Duveneck was being remodeled, and parents were asking for a/c to be installed and at a bare minimum, get the ducts installed so in the future a/c could be installed, the answer was a flat no. So here we are having to retrofit to install a/c.

Posted by Retired PAUSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2022 at 9:44 am

Retired PAUSD Teacher is a registered user.

As a footnote: Remember, schools such as Greene were basically shuttered save for PAUSD+ and supporting staff. That is empty for one year (March 2020 to March 2021). What a great time to do a walk-through to check for current problems, and begin anticipating needs for the upcoming construction projects.
If that was done, the rotten tree that could have come down on people would have been detected and cut down, the trees in Hugh Center would have been trimmed, heating units inspected for structural integrity, and faulty units fixed before the onset of normal instruction. This may seem trivial, but two locked and covered vending machines at Greene were left plugged in and stocked for a whole year while the school was closed. Why? One must assume negligence or laziness, or both.

Posted by Retired PAUSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2022 at 8:17 am

Retired PAUSD Teacher is a registered user.

A few years back I did a public records search regarding air conditioning at Greene. My goal was to get insights into why air conditioning was installed in the front office, and the library, but not to adjoining or adjacent classrooms. I mistakenly assumed that meeting minutes, other documents, or e-mails would shed light on this decision. However, I found nothing regarding the exclusion of classrooms.

At a subsequent board meeting Mr. Austin and the board basically laughed off teachers and parents regarding their air conditioning concerns. Mr. Austin, with his usual disdain, basically said that the boardroom was not air conditioned, so what is the problem? Well, he has a problem now.

The fact is that air could and should have been installed years ago. In addition, all air circulation other than fans and windows is controlled by the district. That leads to heat coming on too late, and cool air coming on too early. Last year, the unit in my room broke. A facing that weighs nearly 50 pounds just fell off and almost struck a student sitting nearby. In addition, the unoccupied office next door was regularly cranking heat all day long no matter the weather conditions. It made for a nice sauna room for sure, but clearly there is an issue when it comes to monitoring and maintenance.

One hopes that someone competent will oversee the upcoming air conditioning install, and that the investment receives proper care and maintenance over time. 25 Churchill’s record along these lines is dubious at best when it comes to classrooms.

Posted by Lucille Waters
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 14, 2022 at 8:20 am

Lucille Waters is a registered user.

Growing up during the 1950-60s we never had air conditioning at school.

Kids today are getting too soft.

Posted by Retired PAUSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2022 at 11:18 am

Retired PAUSD Teacher is a registered user.

To Ms. Walters:

Kids may be too soft, but the fact is that teaching and learning are less effective in a 96 degree plus, crowded classroom. If kids are soft, then the adults that deemed that administrative offices needed air conditioning yet classrooms did not are even softer.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2022 at 12:05 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

@Lucille -- global warming makes indoor spaces uninhabitable during summer. Or haven't you noticed? May I ask if you stayed in your home here during the entire sweltering heat wave we had in September? Without A/C? With nothing but room temperature lemonade to drink because the power was unreliable? Do tell. You might know something the rest of us don't.

Posted by Richard Hayes
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2022 at 2:06 pm

Richard Hayes is a registered user.

Why is every discomfiture and natural disaster being attributed to global warming and climate change?

Variations in global temperatures have fluctuated over the the past 10 million years and there were no cars or coal-burning back then.

The dinosaurs perished because temperatures got too cold...not too hot.

Posted by Richard Hayes
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Richard Hayes is a registered user.

I went to grade school in Arizona where the autumn/spring/summer heat can easily reach 105+ sans any luxury of AC.

It rarely ever gets that hot here in the SF midpeninsula.

Kids...toughen up and learn to adjust.

Chances are your parents did.

Posted by Retired PAUSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2022 at 7:53 am

Retired PAUSD Teacher is a registered user.

My grandmother once hit me several times with a wooden spoon after I cussed in front of her. I also had a middle school teacher that would throw chalk with extreme accuracy at any student not paying attention during his class. In today’s world, grandma would be answering to Child Protective Services and the teacher would have been fired after the first piece of chalk left his hand.

So, if you want to return to the good old days, which in many ways would be a good thing, then, at least from a facilities and infrastructure perspective, PAUSD is the place to be. In fact Mr. Austin could do himself a favor emphasizing why it is necessary to leave students and teachers back in the 20th Century in order to toughen them up. He can set an example by stripping all AC units from administrative offices, and taking out that fancy furniture that seems to get replaced annually in front offices. There are plenty of “Dragnet” era desks and furnishings in classrooms that could be used to give administrative offices that good ole fashion feel.

I’m sure most modern parents and their attorneys would be thrilled with the new “Promise” to toughen up their kids. [Portion removed.]

Ditch the Smart Boards and bring back chalkboards (and the chalk tossing teachers).

Posted by Terrence Young
a resident of Los Altos
on Oct 16, 2022 at 9:30 am

Terrence Young is a registered user.

Kids at school dress a lot more casually today (even the teachers)...many wear shorts and t-shirts which negates the need for massive AC reconfigurations.

Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 16, 2022 at 11:52 am

Anony Mouse is a registered user.

Sadly this admin condescendingly brushed off parent concerns a few years ago. The fact that they now seem to claim that they're "on it", and that it was basically their idea to be helpful stewards of student comfort and safety is sad. How many families were alienated when they were rudely brushed off, only to now be presented with this "new reality" that admin has "invented" installing aircon? We need an institution that looks for win-win opportunities, not an institution that silences voices then takes a victory lap for no reason. We need to work together!!

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