3 San Jose schools without heat or air conditioning must wait for upgrades

- Students at three San Jose elementary schools with failing heaters and no air conditioning will have to sweat out the problem a little longer. Upgrades won't come in time for the next school year.

The three campuses are Arbuckle, Cureton and McCollam schools in the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District.

At Arbuckle Elementary School in San Jose, students in Mrs. Coachman’s first grade class are told to reach for the stars, which isn’t when it's not the most ideal learning environment.

“They come in from recess and they are hot and sweaty and they say I’m hot,” said Teacher Darlene Coachman. “I tell them that I know they’re hot and let’s put our heads down for a few minutes.”

Coachman showed us where she has three fans and two heaters in her classroom. She said, ever since the school was built in 1961, it never had air conditioning and the school's heating system is failing.

“I tell my students to dress in layers and sometimes they keep their gloves on,” said Coachman. “They take one glove off so they can write.”

The teachers were hoping they'd get relief from the weather as promised. However, this school along with two other elementary schools will have to wait until 2018 for upgrades.

“We completely empathize with parents who may be upset,” said Rolando Bonilla, spokesman for the Alum Rock School District.

Bonilla is quick to point out 19 of the 24 schools in the district have been modernized and two schools will be worked on this summer.

According to the teacher's union, voters passed a $125 million bond in 2012 and another measure last year for $140 million. The union wanted the money to go toward air conditioning and heating. Instead, the union aid, the money will also go into building multipurpose rooms at middle schools.

“If you look at the bonds we put out and what we asked of the community, that's what part of the community asked for,” said Bonilla. “They wanted new facilities and they wanted competitive facilities where kids would be able to access top of the line education.”

The district wouldn't elaborate on how it prioritizes projects. Parents and teachers sid the children could be better prepared if they had an easier time learning. Isabella Regalado, a first grader, can attest to that especially when it's hot outside.

“I’m burning,” said Regalado. “I’m burning like fire."

“They drink a lot of water and that's time they waste because we have to be drinking water, hydrating because of the sweat they sweat a lot,” said Kindergarten Teacher Ivonne Regalado.

With 11 days of school left this school year, teachers hope the cool weather continues. Meantime, the district said it is providing schools with portable heaters and air conditioning systems.

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