Hot topic: Penn-Trafford teachers union want air conditioning in all classrooms
Penn-Trafford’s teachers union wants the district to install air conditioning in all classrooms to combat unbearable conditions on hot days in spring and late summer, which create a difficult learning environment, a union official said.
“It was 90 degrees in the classrooms in August and September. It was terrible … and kids were miserable in there,” said Shaun Rinier, president of the Penn-Trafford Education Association.
Penn-Trafford dismissed students early on some days at the beginning of the school year because of the hot classrooms, Superintendent Matthew Harris said.
The teachers union in May reactivated a grievance it filed in the fall over the hot conditions in some of the classrooms, Rinier said. That grievance will go to arbitration with the school district.
The union based its grievance on its contract which requires the school district to maintain the facilities, Rinier said. The state school code includes a similar requirement, he added.
The school district is awaiting the results of a $70,000 energy load study, which will determine how much electrical power is available to operate air conditioning units in each building, Harris said. The district has installed LED lights in buildings, which should reduce the demand for energy, Harris said.
The school district has money for classroom air conditioning units, Harris said. He said installation of such units was completed at Trafford and McCullough elementary schools.
Some air conditioning units were installed at Sunrise Elementary, Penn Middle and Level Green Elementary, Rinier said, noting the window units keep classrooms bearable on hot days.
“We had hoped to have it done by the spring,” he said.
The teachers union would like Penn-Trafford to install air conditioning in its older schools, but Harris said those buildings would not be conducive to adding central air conditioning.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .