Parents report problems with air conditioners at various APS schools | KOB 4
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Parents report problems with air conditioners at various APS schools

Brittany Costello
August 29, 2019 06:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Some APS students aren't getting relief from the heat.

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Three weeks into the school year, parents are reporting problems with air conditioning systems at various schools.

“Walking into the cafeteria, as well as her classroom, reminded me of getting into a hot vehicle while your car has been sitting there for a couple of hours in the sun,” said a mother of a student who attends Armijo Elementary School.

She discovered the AC was either out or not working at her daughter’s school when she went to eat lunch with her Wednesday.

“I can't imagine these little ones, these are our children, being in class having to sit here in this heat and try and learn,” she said. “To me, it would be a top priority.”

APS officials tell KOB 4 it is a priority.

The district has 12,800 evaporative coolers and another 3,450 refrigerated air units for a total of more than 16,000 units, according to Johanna King, communications director at APS.

Since mid-summer, King said they’ve had 2,300 cooling-related work requests. According to an email from King, about half of those requests are for malfunctioning units. The other requests stated that units were not working at top efficiency.

Work crews and teachers are feeling the strain.

“You feel helpless but you also do something about it,” said Ellen Bernstein, president of Albuquerque Teachers Federation. “You make sure your kids are hydrated, you buy your own electric fans, you make sure that there’s a way to get air in that classroom and make it as comfortable as you can.”

But the other obstacle is that APS schools are aging, the average school is 46 years old, according to King. The billion dollar bond, which was shot down, would have helped make those needed upgrades. 

APS officials said crews are working around the clock. However, they have a limited workforce.

Compared to a decade ago when APS had 50 full-time staffers working on cooling issues, they currently have nine full-time staffers, three contractors, and about 30 technicians, according to King.

The district also has a dozen vacancies that it is trying to fill.

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Brittany Costello

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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