DOE distributes air conditioners based on temperatures, electrical capacity

Local News

The Department of Education is setting aside half-a-million dollars to buy air conditioning units to bring relief to students and teachers suffering in the heat.

On Wednesday, we learned which schools are getting them and how the decision was made.

A Department of Education spokesperson said 57 units have been sent to schools like Ilima Intermediate, Kaimiloa Elementary and teams are getting ready to install portable air conditioners at Campbell High School.

School officials at Kaimiloa Elementary tell KHON2 it received 14 units over the past two days, but didn’t know when they would be installed.

Ten units were also sent to Maui.

Natalie Scarborough is a teacher at Ilima Intermediate School. She says her classroom wasn’t selected to receive a unit, but says some classrooms with the portable units are cooler, but not as cool as anticipated.

“There were nine classrooms at Ilima that were approved to receive the units. My classroom was not one of the ones that was approved,” she said.

The portables are being distributed to schools on the priority list and also to neighbor island schools.

The DOE says they came up with the list by taking a look at the average high temperature of the school. The classrooms also need to have the electrical capacity for air conditioning to receive a unit.

“Apparently, there was a study done. I don’t know what was involved in the study. I never saw anyone in my classroom taking temperatures or anything that would decide what I would assume would go into a study involving hot classrooms,” Scarborough said.

She says students are being sent to the health room for heat-related problems every day.

The department purchased 143 portable air conditioning units from Lowe’s and has plans to get another 200.

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