Legislation would establish temperature guideline for schools

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The state’s largest teacher’s union praised the passage of legislation which will establish a maximum temperature in school buildings.

There’s been a limit on how cold classrooms could get, established for decades. The new measure passed this weekend in the senate creates a maximum temperature in school buildings and indoor facilities.

It also establishes a definition of “extreme heat condition days,” and the standard to measure room temperature.

Monroe County Federation of Teachers President Dwayne Cerbone, who teaches at Sutherland High School, said one challenge in addressing the issue of extreme heat in classrooms is that those temperatures come in the very beginning and very end of the school year.

While short-lived, those early and late periods are critical for learning, whether in introducing students to the new year and getting acclimated, or where things stand as students prepare for exams.

“The issue really comes down to how do we find a way to make it so that students are not in that temperature,” he said. “The easy answer is air conditioning. Our district would be looking at $180 million at least in order to retrofit our nine buildings with some type of air conditioning units. That’s not feasible with the given financial crisis that we’re already experiencing and then you look at the operational costs on top of that.”

The bill still requires a signature from the governor before it can go into affect.

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