Elmhurst school with broken A/C creating heated situation, parents say
With temperatures soaring, some kids were told they would have to sweat it out in their summer programs Thursday. Our education reporter, Lindsey Christ, has the story.
PS 89 in Elmhurst is home to two different summer programs this year, even though there is no air-conditioning in much of the building.
"It's very concerning because at the end of the day, they are here most of the time, they're here from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon," said parent Joanna Gómez.
Students in the Beacon summer program brought a letter home Wednesday warning the building could get hot and saying students would not be penalized if they did not attend or left early on Thursday. Beacon programs are city funded enrichment camps.
"I have to make it to work every day so unfortunately my kids will have to," said parent Roddy Arturo Cruz. "I keep them in tank tops I'm trying to bring them as much water as they can, fruits as much as I can."
In April, the mayor announced he was dedicating nearly $30 million to air condition every classroom in city public schools by 2022. As of now, nearly a third of classrooms do not have air conditioning — 11,500 classrooms in all. And there are tens of thousands of students in summer school — and thousands more in city run summer programs, like the Beacon program at PS 89.
"You know it's not easy to deal with a lot of kids and if you're in this kind of weather and this temperature, it makes it even more difficult," said parent Jisselle Askins.
Only about half of the 150 students showed up to the PS 89 Beacon program Thursday, so educators say they were able to fit them all in the limited air-conditioned classrooms. The city's Department of Youth and Community Development told program organizers they can use their funding to buy fans.
The city says 95 percent of kids in required summer school are in buildings with at least some air conditioning but a spokeswoman did not provide numbers for enrichment camps, like the Beacon programs.
The parents here say they hope the city can find another cooler space for their program and others like it, since it has still mid-July and there will likely be many more hot days coming up.