Seems like a pretty straight forward question, right? After this week's heat wave, heat dome, air quality warnings and plenty of discussions about why or why not kids should be in school during these insanely hot days, there seems to be a bigger question, why don't ALL schools have air conditioning?

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Hot Classrooms Spark Heated Hudson Valley Debate

Earlier this week we took a deep dive into a simple question - do you send the kids to school during these brutally hot days? Responses were mixed, as expected, covering a broad range of viewpoints from absolutely not when it's this hot, to, for a half day I guess it's fine, to, yeah my kids are going, they'll be ok.


Response to this article has also come with mixed emotions, not a surprise, as Hudson Valley residents near and far have weighed in with hundreds of comments across various social media platforms about the conditions in our local schools and how it impacts students and staff during this hot weather. Taking the sarcastic remarks and comments out of the equation, it seems like the common concern is about why only some schools (or certain areas of the school) have air conditioning?

This topic is at the forefront for many, clearly, with the push for the recent bill banning students and teachers from being allowed in classrooms that meet a certain temperature threshold.

SEE ALSO: These Things Are Now Free Because of the Hot Weather

School Air Conditioning Concerns

It should come as no surprise that a study conducted in 2020 of 12,000 school districts indicated that testing conditions above 80F negatively affected standardized test scores.

We know that some local districts here in the Hudson Valley have indicated that their main testing areas are furnished with air conditioning, but that leaves the question, what about the rest of the school?


The National Education Association published a study in 2022 that indicated by 2025, there will be a 30% increase (since 1970) in the number of school districts that see 32 or more days over 80 degrees, going on to say that more than 10.8 million students will see three more weeks of school days over 80 in the year 2025 than they did in 1970.

Tina W. in a public post on a public thread about sending kids to school on these hot days echoed the increase in temperatures:

It was never really this hot back in the 70's 80's

This naturally sparked a bigger debate about how hot is hot, when it normally gets this hot, and so on, but other Hudson Valley residents, like Glenn A. were quick provide evidence that it has indeed been hotter lately 'current temperatures are setting multiple all time record highs' and Thea P. echoing 'according to the news, it was the hottest June day in thirty years...'

Show Me The Money

Data provided by looks at New York State in the year 2019, explaining that capital construction costs to install window AC units in over 13,000 (NYC) public school classrooms rose to $334 million, which is seven times more than the estimate from 2017. A visual impact of cost breakdown and students impacted can be found below, and the link to more information about the New York State report, including a county by county breakdown, can be found here:

It seems like it truly does come down to funding - install, maintenance/upkeep/repairs, all of it costs money. With dozens of the hundreds of comments questioning where our taxpayer dollars go, and why all spaces in the school don't have air conditioning, again in a public post, Jennifer L. shared the following

teachers are paying out of pocket for basic supplies. I think you've overestimated how much [money] goes to public schools

Meghan R. provides additional context:

People tend to cite tax dollars and question why all schools don't have AC. Please consider that school taxes go to fund education for the school year. In many districts, like my own, most if not all of the buildings are 60 to 100 years old and do not have the existing capacity to power AC or updated hvac systems to accomplish this. That type of project is not in a school's yearly budget. And never has been. Most communities cannot afford to build new facilities and have to work with what they have, which in many cases are old, decrepit buildings that have more pressing structural concerns that need to be dealt with before AC can even be considered.

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