PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More Philadelphia classrooms will have air conditioning as classes begin next week, but the majority still don’t.
The district added air conditioning to 150 more classrooms in eight schools, with 16 more schools getting AC before next spring. But Superintendent William Hite says that’s it for now.
“We will then max out on the number of schools that could support air conditioning,” said Hite.
He says that’s because wiring in many of the district’s old buildings can’t support air conditioning.
“We could buy the air conditioners tomorrow. The challenge is, in order to upgrade these electrical systems in schools, you’re talking about another $140 million,” he said.
Hite says that’s a price the district can’t afford right now.
“That’s money that’s not available now that we would have to make available, in addition to the time, in addition to having PECO come in and do that work.”
The AC issue attracted attention a year ago, when school began before Labor Day and extreme heat forced early dismissals on three of the first five days of the year. In 2020, the school year will begin on Aug. 31, a week before Labor Day.