Some schools throughout the state that don’t have air conditioning have been closed or are releasing students early because of heat. On Wednesday, Columbus City Schools joined the districts canceling classes entirely.
At least one state representative says all K-12 schools should be air conditioned and is calling on education leaders to provide inventory of buildings that lack it.
Republican House Education Committee chair Andy Brenner of Powell says he’s not sure the state actually has information about how many school buildings in the state are air conditioned. And even if it did, he doesn’t think it’s the state’s obligation to make sure they are.
“I’m not sure what the cost would be to retrofit buildings because you would have to deal with a lot of buildings that may be 100 years old and it may not be possible to retrofit them,” Brenner said.
Rep. Niraj Antani asked the state for the cost of adding air conditioning to all schools. In a letter Tuesday to the state superintendent. He said the closures are creating a hostile environment for teaching and learning.
Ohio's facilities construction commission says it only tracks the 1,200 buildings it helped build or renovate since 1998, all of which have air conditioning. Antani says it's ridiculous that in 2018, heat is forcing schools to close.
Brenner says local districts should be the ones to decide whether they want to add air conditioning. He says schools have the option of taking calamity days, with lost time made up before school ends for the summer.