In Partnership with The 74

LA Unified has the A/C ready for the start of the new school year

Mike Szymanski | August 7, 2015



HeatBecause of a $300 million boost in bond money and the ability to hire extra help, most of the LAUSD schools are expected to have their air conditioning units working when school opens Aug. 18.

“August is traditionally the hottest month of the year, and the severe heat spells doesn’t help the classroom situation,” said Roger Finstad, director of Maintenance and Operations for LAUSD. “We have a pretty good handle on it this year.”

There are 30,000 classrooms with air conditioning units and more than 1,000 other spaces such as hallways, lockerrooms and libraries with about 68,000 venting devices throughout the district, Finstad said.

At the moment, there are 1,400 open work orders to fix air conditioning problems throughout the district.

“In the overall scheme of things, that’s not bad,” Finstad said. “We have it under control.”

Two summers ago, the district had to spend nearly $250,000 in overtime to get air conditioning units up and running when the school year was moved earlier into the summer.

“A huge amount of the systems are antiquated, repairs are inevitable,” Finstad said. “We are checking all the systems to see what repairs are needed before school starts.”

At the moment, there are no air conditioned schools that will be without an entire working system when school starts. However, there may be a few individual classrooms without a cooling system. In some cases, those classes may be switched to other rooms temporarily.

“Not every school room may be functional, but there will not be a whole school out of order,” Finstad assured.

Air conditioner repairs and the replacement of obsolete systems were helped this year with $300 million in school bond funds.

The Accuweather forecast for the first day of school at the moment is 93 degrees. The rest of the week has high temperatures in the mid-80s.

Overall, schools are set at 78 degrees, which may seem high, but are set that way for environmental concerns, Finstad said. Most classrooms have an individual thermostat allowing teachers to set the room temperature for a few hours in the room.

“Everybody has their own internal temperature gauge, so some people may feel warmer, some cooler,” Finstad said. “We’re looking good for the beginning of the school year.”

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