APS teacher raises concerns about hot classrooms

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was the hottest July on record, and now students will be heading to class earlier than ever before.

Teachers are already back, and we are already hearing many schools still don’t have working air conditioning.

KOB 4 spoke to one teacher who is working in this heat. While the teacher wanted to remain anonymous, he says his classroom at Manzano High School is almost unbearable.

He sent us pictures of the thermostat in his room that showed it was 80 degrees when he walked in, and it was closer to 83 degrees when we talked to him Tuesday afternoon.

He said it got up to 91 degrees by the time he left work on Monday.

“When I walked into my room this morning it was hotter in my room than it was outside, and it just throughout the day continues to rise,” said the teacher. 

KOB 4 shared these concerns with Albuquerque Public School officials, asking for an update on AC units at schools. They denied an interview, saying this is an issue they’ve talked to us about before and nothing has changed.

“There will never be a point where all 25,000 AC units in the district will be working at once,” a spokesperson said Tuesday.

They are aware of the issue, but said it could be up to 48 hours before a district technician is able to respond. The spokesperson added the ACs are only part of the problem. 

A majority of APS rely on evaporated air or swamp coolers and those air systems can only lower the temperature by 20 degrees in perfect conditions.

So if it is 100 degrees outside, the coolest that classroom will get is 80 degrees. So it seems like hot classrooms aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

KOB 4 spoke with the executive director of maintenance and operations at APS the other week. He says nearly $30 million of federal funds from COVID-19 relief is going to upgrade HVAC systems in around 90 of the about 150 schools in the district. 

However, that won’t be done until the end of next year.