Parents of students at Long Beach schools are upset with the district over a lack of air conditioning in some of the classrooms, especially as record-high temperatures scorch SoCal.
“My kids, especially the kinder and the second grade, which has no AC, their hair is completely wet, and when all the kinders come out, they’re sweating,” Annabelle Guerrero, a parent of two kids at Patrick Henry Elementary School, told KTLA.
Parents of students at Patrick Henry and other Long Beach schools have been begging the district to install air conditioning for the students’ safety.
“They are just desperate,” Guerrero said. “They’re hot and they’re thirsty and they come out of the classroom and as many fans as they put in there, it’s just hot air circulating.”
Classrooms in modular units are air conditioned, but many other classrooms are not.
“Not all of it’s too bad,” first grader Makena Pearson said of the classrooms, “but some of them are like hot, hot, hot.”
District officials responded, saying 80% of classrooms do have air conditioning, but to install AC districtwide will take another eight years. According to the district, it’s a multi-year project due to various factors, including available labor, materials and the fact that school bond funds are issued in increments.
At Patrick Henry, the AC was supposed to be installed in 2025, parents said, but the pandemic delayed the installation until 2029.
“There was a budget set for the upgrades and everything, but they are prioritizing filling empty pools with cement and things that aren’t as important as having AC in the classrooms,” Guerrero told KTLA.
In the meantime, some parents have been taking their kids out of school early until more is done to keep them cool.
“They come home tired and sleepy and not wanting to do any other work or anything,” Yolanda Hendricks said of her grandkids at the school. “I just hope that they get it fixed eventually.”
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