North East Air Conditioning?

In my little piece of the world; AKA Northern NJ, it is time for some improvements in our physical school structure.  The "newest" school in my town was built sixty three years ago.  The oldest is over 100 years.  While updates and repairs have been made over the years, it's become obvious that some repairs and upgrades NEED to be made.  Even if I didn't have a kid in the school system, I couldn't argue that roofs and windows needs to be repaired/replaced.  Boilers need to be fixed.  And sadly, in the world we live in, the security and communication systems NEED to be top notch to keep our kids safe.  So while no one likes spending more/paying more, I can't disagree that these important items need to be addressed even though it may mean paying more (about $175 a year per household).  These are things that need to be taken care of.  It's not just a matter of scholastic pride, it's a matter of safety and I can't argue with that.

What I CAN argue with is the 2nd referendum on the ballot:  Air Conditioning.  We live in Northern NJ for cripes sake.  I attended this same school system.  I didn't need A/C; why do these kids need it?  I mean it's nearly $50 more a year and does not include operating costs.  As they say, suck it up butter cup.

That might have been my first thought.  But...

I attended this same school system over 30 years ago. (Yes it hurts to say that; just as it hurts to see teachers who are so much YOUNGER than me.) I didn't need air conditioning.  Yes, it might have been nice for those hot days, but...

However, in the years (decades!) since then something not so cool has happened.  (And I actually mean that literally!)  All those icebergs up north have started to melt down and break apart.  Call it global warming or climate change, but it IS happening.  Our summers are getting hotter.  I like the heat.  I revel in the heat. But even I am needing the a/c more than I used to.  (Please do not get into the "at your age" discussion...we are NOT going there!)  No blame or excuses; I'm not getting into it's a man-made problem or "nature's way".  That's another blog post for another day.  What I AM going to say is that it OBVIOUS that the weather and our planet is changing.  Things are NOT the way they once were.  (Whatever is?)

All I can think is that I wouldn't want to work in an office space where the temperatures soared into the upper 80s and above.  I can't imagine a classroom packed with students (no matter what age) could be productive at all if it was so hot.  (The same could be said about a cold classroom; but boiler repairs are part of the first referendum and that's definitely a MUST in my book, so...)

Maybe "back in the day" (sigh) when I was a student classroom temperatures would climb, but they wouldn't do so regularly.  While I recall hot days, I do not recall days in October where the temperatures would reach 90.  (Which is what they are calling for mid-week!  Yes!  Here in NJ!).

No, I don't want to spend more money and I certainly DON'T want to pay more in taxes, but I also cannot live with a clear conscious knowing that my kid is sweating to death in a classroom.  (And he's a tough one...what about the little ones?)

So I say air conditioning MUST be part of our schools.  It IS necessary!  I know I would not be able to function in extreme heat and I cannot let children, young adults and their teachers work in such conditions either.  

I may be tight with my wallet, but I'm here to open it up.  (And...If you don't want to open yours, maybe we should work on this whole climate change thing.  Because pretty soon we're all going to need air conditioning and heavy duty heating no matter where we live!)


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