Air conditioning issues at multiple Duval County public schools

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Staying cool in the classroom is something parents say is a problem across several Duval County public schools.

“They can’t learn while they’re sitting there,” April Bradlee said. “They are hot, they are concentrating on trying to stay cool and sweating under their masks.”

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Parents like Bradlee say several classrooms are without air conditioning and her fifth grader at Chimney Lakes Elementary is learning in room temperature.

“To me that’s a huge concern, this is why we send our kids to school, to get an education and they’re not able to do that if they are unable to be comfortable,” Bradlee said.

Now, a Fletcher High School mother tells Action News Jax through Facebook Messenger her 10th grader stayed home Friday because of the issues. The message read in part: “My 10th grader had to stay home today because she was so hot yesterday she was nauseous and had a headache.”

Friday, Duval County Public Schools provided comment, saying intermittent issues aren’t uncommon and can be typically resolved the same day, adding that district maintenance crews will continue to work on the issues as they come up as a short-term solution.

The district says the long-term solution for their buildings comes from the half-cent sales tax to fund their master facility plan, saying “This plan, which identifies major renovations, repairs, and new construction needed for our schools, will occur over the next 15 years.”

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The comment reads in full:

“Intermittent AC issues are not uncommon and are typically resolved by our maintenance staff on the same day. For example, the six schools you originally sent to us experienced intermittent AC issues in scattered classrooms and a few other areas on Aug. 11.  Maintenance crews worked throughout the day to address the AC issues, and all were repaired by the end of the school day, with the exception of one classroom where maintenance needed to order equipment to resolve.

A long-term solution for our buildings – which are the oldest school buildings in the state of Florida – is a large part of why voters recently approved a half-cent sales tax to fund our Master Facility Plan. This plan, which identifies major renovations, repairs, and new construction needed for our schools, will occur over the next 15 years.

In the meantime, our district maintenance crews continue to address AC issues immediately as they come up, which is the short-term solution.”

However, several parents say their children have been dealing with this issue for multiple days. As Bradlee says, her daughter’s school is on day four of the problem and she wants a solution immediately.

“I know it takes times for schools to get everything together and get everything perfect but the heat and air situation should always be something of priority in the classroom, especially in Florida,” Bradlee said.

Action News Jax also submitted a public records request for how many classrooms were affected from no air conditioning since the start of the school year. We are waiting for it to come back.