A/C problems plague Hillsborough classrooms

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Hillsborough County School District officials say they're sending crews out constantly to fix air conditioning problems that have plagued local schools since students returned last week.

Officials say 15 to 20 schools have reported problems.

"Classrooms hit 91 degrees. That is inhuman, that's an atrocity," complained parent Jennifer Rogers.

She says her 13-year-old son Daniel nearly cooked in a hot special needs classroom at Walker Middle School. She wonders if all the problems can be fixed.

"They're trying to find a solution with spit and duct tape," she continued.

At Hillsborough High School, a portable A/C unit runs because the regular system is broken, but the temperature in the classroom is 93, so students were moved to another room.

Some ask why the A/C wasn't tested before kids came back to school.

"It's not that nothing has been addressed over the summer, however replicating what 2,500 kids coming into a building causes isn't possible," offered Chris Farkas, COO of the school district.

Stressed parents and students, meanwhile, try to deal with it.

"I sent him with a six-pack of water and a box fan," Rogers said.

District administrators say state funding for school maintenance is down by millions of dollars and, unless the Legislature and governor restore some of that funding to replace old equipment, the A/C problem will get worse before it gets better.

"We have aging buildings. We have less dollars coming in to address this. We're using every single dollar in our maintenance budget to address air conditioning," insisted superintendent of schools Jeff Eakins.