Public school board to investigate cooling for hot schools

Jessica Sartori, trustee for the Greater Essex County District School Board, is seen in her seat at the board table on December 2, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Expect a lively debate this spring about the cost of keeping Windsor-Essex schools cool during the summer heat.

Greater Essex County District School Board Trustee Jessica Sartori introduced a motion earlier this week calling on the administration to come back with a report on how much it would cost to put air conditioning in schools that do not have it already. Some of the newer schools do have air conditioning, but almost a third of them do not, and every May, June, and September students and teachers complain about the oppressive heat.

Air conditioning may be a substantial financial pill for the board to swallow, but Sartori told the report would look at other methods of keeping the temperature down too.

“There could be fans of different types. My understanding is that different types of ventilation may be an option,” said Sartori. “I would like to see what other school boards are doing, as well.”

The issue is not new, but Sartori, who is running for re-election says she hears a lot about it while campaigning. It became a personal issue when her daughter complained.

“She had contacted me after writing a test in May, and she said it was difficult to concentrate and she was concerned about how she had done on the test,” said Sartori. “It’s near the end of the school year for the secondary students. Final exams are happening at that time. And then for the Grades 3, 6, 9 and ten students that when the EQAO testing happens.”

In the past, the board has encouraged teachers to take their students into the library during the warmest days.