Flint teachers demand air conditioning, reasonable temps with year-round school

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 6:30 PM EST
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(12/20/2018) - 115 degrees one day; and then, just above 40 degrees two days later. Teachers say extreme temperatures have been an issue at Flint schools for years.

"It's difficult. When kids get extremely hot, sometimes they get very fidgety and very active and can't concentrate; and then, other times they get so hot they go to sleep," explained United Teachers of Flint President Karen Christian. "So, the goal of trying to keep them occupied and keep them constantly learning is very difficult when you have extreme temps either way."

With the balanced calendar pushing the first day of school to August 12th, Christian said something has to change.

"The teachers voted it down every time because there was no plan," she said. "There were no answers. There was nothing given to us that would make us want to go to balanced calendar."

"That was literally the first thing that came up. What about the conditions in our buildings?" Superintendent Derrick Lopez said.

So, he immediately went to work coming up with a plan for a self-renewal project."

"That is how we fund some of our renovations, through the savings that we would actually have bringing our buildings up to a standard of efficiency," he explained.

He's hoping that plan will raise $5.5 million over time, on top of the $3 million expected from a state grant for infrastructure at Doyle Ryder.

Superintendent Lopez is already working with Johnson Controls and other vendors to make his plan a reality by the 2019-2020 school year.

"It may be window units, it may be just there might be a bank of units on the side of the building that have air conditioning, as well as heating mechanisms," he said. "So, that are kids will be safe and our teachers will be comfortable as they teach the kids."

"I saw the plan. The plan looks good. I want to see it come to fruition that's the big thing," Christian added.

The investment in changes at Southwestern Classical Academy has us asking what about the talks of re-opening Central High School? Superintendent Lopez is hoping to re-develop the space over the next few years. He said they'd have to knock it down, but he'd like to keep the cornerstones, eventually moving the high school here.