Classrooms in Chicago city schools are going to get more comfortable soon. Air conditioning has been installed in 57 out of 681 public schools, and 29 more will receive air conditioning units by October’s end. According to officials, 154 schools total have received air conditioning over the past two years.
The air conditioning comes after several years of complaints from parents, teachers, and students alike. Both parents and teachers say that the high temperatures in the classroom make it difficult for students to actually learn. In Chicago, temperatures in the mid to high 80s persist from May until the end of September. The Chicago Public School system serves approximately 400,000 students, elementary to high school.
The air conditioning installations are part of a larger, five year plan to cool down the schools. Chicago Public Schools are putting $100 million into the plan, with the schools with no air conditioning receiving “highest need” designation and getting them before schools with partial air or existing but outdated air conditioners.
“This investment will also mean that the 42,000 CPS students who attend summer programs will have a safe, cool place to be during those months when they are either in summer school or a summer program,” said Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, in a released statement.
Ravenswood Elementary School is one of the 57 schools receiving air conditioning this summer. Mary Lubben, a school council member at Ravenwood, thinks the units will be a welcome change.
“The upper floors in those warm months are very uncomfortable for the kids,” she said. “We’ve been pushing for air for a while.” The school is planning the installations around summer school schedules so that classroom time will not be disrupted.