Air conditioning systems not working in some leeward elementary classrooms

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) – It’s the first week of school for many kids in Hawaii, but some found an unfortunate surprise once they entered their classrooms – broken air conditioning systems.

One such student is Ewa Elementary School third grader Ikaika Aio, who said his classroom is, “super hot.”

“Sometimes I think about how hot it is,” said Aio.

When Aio’s mother, Kawehilani Ballou, first dropped him off to school on Monday, she got a glimpse of what it would be like for her son.

“As I entered the classroom, it was so hot in there in the morning at 7 a.m., that I had to actually leave the room, and couldn’t stay because I had sweat dripping down my face,” said Ballou. “I was only in there a few minutes because it was so hot.”

She said her son’s classroom has an air conditioning unit but it doesn’t work. To help cool down the kids, fans were added to the classroom.

“That is not enough. When the administrators are sitting in air conditioned offices and wouldn’t work in the same conditions, how can they expect our children to learn, our small children,” said Ballou. “It’s terrible.”

A few streets down at Ewa Beach Elementary school, the Department of Education confirmed that there are six classrooms with broken AC systems. The department said it’s working with the school to resolve the issue.

In the meantime, the school has moved classes to cooler rooms, installed portable AC systems, and adjusted windows to let in more airflow. They’re also reminding students to stay hydrated.

We asked the Department of Education when the AC systems would be fixed at the two elementary schools. We will update the story once the DOE responds.

Ballou has offered to raise money to either pay someone to fix the AC system in her son’s classroom or buy a new one. She said she’s working with the principal to find a solution.

The Department of Education does allow people and businesses to donate AC systems to schools.

In order to do so, they must first contact the principal of the school to let them know that they intend to donate. From there the principal can work with them to figure out a plan.

According to the DOE, these are the types of AC systems that can be accepted:

  • Window units that have enough thermal output (BTUs) for the room size
  • Split AC units
  • Photovoltaic AC units

They say portable AC units or used systems would not work.

The Department of Education’s website has additional information on donating an AC system.

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