Parents concerned about the heat wave at the start of the school year implored Lake Zurich High Unit District 95 officials to add air-conditioning systems to the district’s campuses Thursday night.
Some also suggested starting school later and taking other steps to deal with hot days at the beginning of the school year.
Outdoor temperatures were in the 90s for most of the first week of school in late August. Only three of the district’s eight schools have air conditioning.
Some suburban schools closed because of the heat, but Lake Zurich’s classes weren’t canceled.
Deer Park resident Sara Guarisco found that unacceptable.
“What is considered hot enough to close schools?” she asked during the school board’s meeting at Lake Zurich High.
Guarisco urged officials to re-examine their policies regarding excessive heat. She also asked if anyone takes classroom temperature readings on hot days.
Kildeer resident Andrea Trudeau said her two children came home during the first two weeks of school with a variety of heat-related maladies.
Air conditioning isn’t a luxury, Trudeau said.
“They are a necessity,” she said.
Not everyone in the audience agreed. Lake Zurich resident Jim Tarbet told the board children should be able to tolerate hot days. He said he didn’t want to see money spent on equipment that only needs to be used a few days a year.
“(It’s) a ridiculous expense and unjustifiable,” Tarbet said.
Middle School North, Spencer Loomis Elementary and Lake Zurich High have air conditioning.
The schools that don’t are: Seth Paine Elementary; Isaac Fox Elementary; May Whitney Elementary; Middle School South; and Sarah Adams Elementary.
Superintendent Michael Egan has estimated adding cooling systems to those schools could cost more than $20 million.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.