Baltimore Co. Schools Without Air Conditioning

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)–Summer temperatures may be winding down, but the battle over air conditioning in Baltimore County schools is heating up. Parents complain too many schools turn into ovens when the mercury rises.

Derek Valcourt has a look at the concerns and what’s being done in the schools.

This summer, the heat came in like a lion. Dozens of schools have broken or no air conditioning.

The heat posed a danger. Students reported feeling faint because of how hot it was.

In some schools, teachers and students did faint. Many schools without air conditioning repeatedly closed early.

It’s a recurring problem at Baltimore County’s Middleborough Elementary.

“During the last heat wave it was 94 degrees in my daughter’s classroom at 7:30 in the morning,” parent Alan Southworth said.

“It is so hot that they could just barely breathe, much less try to comprehend what a teacher is trying to tell them,” grandmother Pat Miller said.

Middleborough Elementary School is not alone. Only 50 percent of Baltimore County schools have air conditioning —  much lower than surrounding counties that have at or near 100 percent of schools with air conditioning.

Only Baltimore City is worse off at 43 percent of schools.

Officials say they’re well aware of the air conditioning complaints, but said they did not want to talk about it.

While help isn’t coming from Baltimore officials, many are looking to Maryland’s Comptroller, Peter Franchot.

“The top baloney I always get is, ‘Oh, it’s going to cost $4 million to put central air conditioning in the 94 schools,'” Franchot said.

He calls the lack of air conditioning unacceptable and says the county should spend its entire $7 million supplemental appropriation to fix it.

“What I’m suggesting is go down to Costco, buy some window units, put them in the classrooms that are affected and plug them in,” Franchot said.

But for now that’s not in the works. Parents are frustrated and warning school officials they’re not going away.

“Let them work in the same conditions that these kids and the teachers are working in,” Southworth said. “If they had to work a week in those types of conditions, they would rectify the situation themselves.”

In the past, Baltimore County school officials have said air conditioning is not their top priority. They say they’ve had to balance their limited financial resources with their more pressing maintenance needs at some of their older school buildings.

Due to the heat, Baltimore County schools closed early five days in the last school year.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • Bob

    With rules about competitive bids you can’t just ‘go down to Costco’s and buy air conditioners with public funds. By the time the bid process and all of the other purchasing rules are floowed, it will be snowing in Baltimore.

    • baltimore resident

      they are spoiled lazy cry babies, want every thing given to them and don’t know the value of hard work or tough knocks, if they only had to work a day in their lives maybe they would find out

  • baltimore resident

    why is it now that kids can’t go to school when it is hot, teachers can’t work in heat, I wonder how all of the people that are complaining about no ac, how did they go to school, I for one remember going to school for 12 years and never had and ac in the school, and we just opened the windows and doors used a fan and kept on with the class, so why is this a big issue?? SPOILED BRATS is the name of the game

    • ET

      Part of the problem is the way the schools are built. When a school is built without air conditioning the size and quantity of windows is considered, to increase ventilation. Also, the way the hallways and classrooms are designed help increase airflow and every classroom has windows. Many schools that are built around the concept of AC have much smaller windows and some classrooms don’t have any windows at all (depending on the size of the building of course).

  • Brian

    Boo Hoo,poor spoiled kids can’t learn,because it’s to hot,to cold,to much noise,the wind is blowing the wrong way.Give me a break.

  • Lottie Ruhle

    I taught in Baltimore City for 16 years and worked with no air in the summer and no heat in the winter. We had to wear coats and gloves in the winter and I had to buy 10 fans to make may classroom bearable in the summer (cause the windows didn’t open). Never was that newsworthy. Such a double standard.

  • Jeff

    I graduated from Kenwood in 1983. I can remember sweating to death the first few weeks of school. It sucked. Then having to wear my coat all day during the winter. Sucked. Those kids deserve to have a little comfort while learning.

  • Leigh

    If I remember correctly Baltimore County put in funding to install A/C at ten schools in last years budget. Ridgley Middle was one. How about just adjusting the school schedule so the school year starts after Labor Day and ends at Memorial Day. Eliminate all those stupid professional days, and minor holidays and it could be done. Then no one needs AC.



    • Faith

      Um…Not all of us. Went to Kenwood in the 00s and it was hot as Hades and we had to deal with it being hot.

  • Allison C

    Ok big deal! I went to Arundel High and we had NO air conditioning period and we all had to beg the state of MD to get us AC! Don’t you think we were hot and sweaty early in the morning? It got so hot we could barely think but we had to survive and make it through the day! I remember only a couple days we got out early because of the heat! And they just told us make sure you bring some bottles of water with you!

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    Let the kids sweat a bit, they can afford to lose some weight as more are overstuffed porkers living on a diet of pizza, X-box & Doritos. Let the parents come to school & fan them down as they do everything else including wiping their A$$es.

    • J.G

      That is an childish remark

  • Linda B

    I for one don’t think it matters what the year is. Get the big loud fans, open the windows and keep it moving. I too think our youth are spoiled & pampered. And the saddest part of it is they are coming out of schools today dummer than ever. I’m glad to see that the majority agrees with me.

  • Snow

    Yes, todays kids are more spoiled then my generation but alot of these kids (mine included) have underlying medical problems that require them to be in air. One of my children attends Patapsco High. Most of the teachers dont open the windows cause they say it makes it hotter but it also doesnt allow air to circulate. Try telling an asthmatic to sit there and deal with it. Or try being a parent of an asthmatic who decides to keep her home because it’s too hot and humid, then the school system wants to have you jailed.

  • Bec

    The windows have since been replaced since most of you were in school with the idea of placing a/c into schools. When I first started teaching, every window opened in two different places. Now, I’m in a room with three windows where only the bottom half opens 45 degrees. We have done experiments to see how hot the rooms get and my room along with the others along my side of the hallway reached 94-96 degrees. The other side of the hallway was 10 degrees cooler, so thankfully students get some relief. With the hurricaine and the unknown of what winter brings, I’m sure we again will be going to school through the second week of June.

  • air conditioning

    There are basically three times of air conditioning units: the built-in wall AC, the portable window unit, and central air. Although they all help keep our homes at a nice, cool temperature, the way each type of unit works is different from the other.

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