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Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña and City Council Announce Every Classroom Will Have Air Conditioning by 2022

April 25, 2017

City dedicating $28.75 Million to Install Air Conditioning in All classrooms

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña and the City Council today announced funding to provide every classroom in New York City with air conditioning. The City dedicated $28.75 million over the next five years to purchase and install air conditioning units in all classrooms by 2022, providing thousands of students with a more comfortable learning environment.

“Making sure that all classrooms are air conditioned is one more commitment we’re making to ensure that nothing stands in the way of our students and a quality education,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I’ve spoken with countless parents at town halls across the city and this issue has come up repeatedly. We’re investing in classrooms to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere to build on the progress our schools have made over the last few years.”

“This funding will ensure that every classroom across the City has air conditioning and that all students are provided with a safe, comfortable learning environment,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Schools in older buildings have long struggled to keep instructional spaces cool during the summer months and now they will be able to install air conditioners in every classroom.”  

“Over the past years, the Council has consistently called for installing air conditioners in every classroom across New York City. We applaud the administration for taking this important step to ensure our students have a comfortable and safe environment in which to learn and thrive in,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Approximately 11,500 classrooms – 26 percent of all classrooms – across the City do not have functioning air conditioners and this funding will provide air conditioning to over 2,000 additional classrooms in the first year or the program. Installation in the first cohort of schools will begin this summer. The DOE is working closely with the SCA to prioritize summer school sites and assess school need based on building utilization and ability to accommodate the upgrades. 

Total funding for Fiscal Year 2018 is $5 million, $5.5 million for Fiscal Year 2019, $6 million for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 and $6.25M for Fiscal Year 2022. In addition to funding for the air conditioner units and labor for instillation, the School Construction Authority’s five-year Capital Plan includes approximately $50 million for electrical upgrades to support the installation of air conditioning units. The city will reevaluate capital costs as installation progresses and adjust as necessary.

"Providing air conditioning in all classrooms is an important investment in the health, academic success and quality of life of our youngest New Yorkers,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Finance Committee. “For as long as I was a student and after school administrator, our classrooms and the children in them suffered during the hot summer months. I applaud the Mayor for addressing this long-standing issue and making this capital investment to bring New York City schools up to par with the rest of the city's buildings. And I look forward to supporting this phase in during the Council's budget process. Our children should be able to focus and learn in an environment that is safe, comfortable and independent of any extreme weather."

"I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated his commitment to funding the installation of air conditioners in all public school classrooms," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Education Committee. "As a former NYC public school teacher who taught summer school for more than 20 years, I saw firsthand how sweltering classrooms distract students from actual learning. These dollars will help ensure that our classrooms are comfortable and safe for teachers and students year-round."

"New York City's public school kids think this is the coolest thing Mayor de Blasio has ever done! But it is also a totally serious one. Through the #TooHotToLearn campaign, we heard so many stories of classrooms so hot that kids and teachers could not concentrate, those with asthma or special needs were unable to attend, even of kids fainting. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for setting NYC schools on a path to classrooms where all our kids can learn," said Council Member Brad Lander.

"As a former educator, I have seen firsthand how poor ventilation and uncomfortable temperatures can negatively impact the learning process. It makes paying attention in class and staying alert difficult for students while creating undue stress for teachers and school staff. That's why I have been advocating for air conditioners in all of our schools for some time now, and why I commend Mayor de Blasio and his administration for bringing more equity to our schools. Addressing the antiquated wiring in some of our school buildings to allow for cooling solutions also opens the door to increasing capacity for greater use of technology in our classrooms. This is a welcome victory for students, families, and school teachers and staff across the city. Every school should have proper cooling and ventilation because every student deserves to learn in a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment," said Council Member Mark Treyger.

“I was pleased to help fight to bring air-conditioning to all Bronx classrooms – our kids deserve it,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. “After hearing from teachers, parents and teachers who understand what it’s like when classrooms are too hot to learn, this investment is very welcome news.”

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