AC problems reported at some Fresno Unified schools amid heat wave

Corin Hoggard Image
Wednesday, September 7, 2022

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Overwhelming heat and a lack of functioning air conditioners forced Fresno Unified to send students home from one school.

They also scrambled to fix A/C issues at several other schools.

Teachers at multiple schools told us their classrooms were approaching 90 degrees this morning.

At some of those schools, air conditioning has been a problem since the first week of school.

Arianna Cerda rushed from a pregnancy checkup to Starr Elementary School Tuesday morning after getting a text message from her daughter's teacher.

Her sixth grader, who has autism, left school with some worrying symptoms.

"It's hot," Cerda said. "She was rosy. They told me her palms were sweating."

As Starr released students early, fellow sixth-grader Trenton McKay told us he spent part of his morning in a slightly cooler hallway, but still struggled with math.

"I could not focus," McKay said. "I took probably like ten minutes to think for a couple of problems and it was crazy."

"She was sweating and she was 'I want to go home,'" said Fresno High School parent Jose Sandoval. "What am I supposed to tell her? You know? It's tough. It's tough."

Sandoval's daughter suffered through her morning at Fresno High, where technicians fixed malfunctioning air conditioners, but not before teachers told us some classrooms reached 90 degrees.

"You see temperatures upwards of 90 degrees," said Fresno Teachers Association president Manuel Bonilla. "You see that 85-90 and it's just exhausting and not a learning environment."

Bonilla says classrooms without air conditioning might even become dangerous for students and teachers.

Teachers and parents from at least five Fresno Unified schools reported at least some air conditioning failure Tuesday.

Bonilla says the union has already addressed the problems with Fresno Unified administrators because the trouble started almost from Day One at some schools, including regular outages at Fresno High.

A district spokeswoman told us the maintenance team tried to resolve the problems quickly.

But Sandoval, who also teaches at Fresno High, says all they get is band-aids and quick fixes.

"What we need is a plan," Sandoval said. "What's the plan to address this? Because on days like this, classrooms were getting close to 90 degrees. How can students learn in those conditions?"

A Clovis Unified spokeswoman told us the district had to fix issues in a few classrooms, but they had no school-wide issues.