NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his “cool” new project Tuesday of adding air conditioners to all city schools by 2022.
City officials announced a $28.75 million initiative to install air conditioners in every New York City classroom over the next five years.
“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 Bill 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.”
Approximately 11,500 classrooms across New York City do not have access to functioning air conditioners.
“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.
City Council has been pushing to install air conditioners in all classrooms for years. Schools in older buildings have particularly struggled to keep classrooms cool during the summer.
"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," said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. "Our children should be able to focus and learn in an environment that is safe, comfortable and independent of any extreme weather."
Council Member Brad Lander said students are thrilled for the change following the #TooHotToLearn campaign.
Through the campaign, Lander said they "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."
Officials will give over 2,000 classrooms access to air conditioning within the first year. Funding will grow approximately $500,000 through the Fiscal Year 2022 until the project is complete. Total funding for Fiscal Year 2018 is $5 million.
The School Construction Authority's five-year Capital Plan also includes spending $50 million for electrical upgrades to support the newly installed air conditioners.
The Department of Education is working closely with the SCA to prioritize summer school locations based on building utilization and the ability to accommodate upgrades.