Bradley schools considering referendum for air
Bradley Elementary School District 61 is contemplating whether to pursue a referendum next spring to add air conditioning to every classroom at its three schools.
All the district’s schools have window air conditioning units in select classrooms and office areas. The district has dismissed students early six times this school year because of heat. It shortened two days last year for the same reason.
“It’s not a good learning environment for our kids,” Superintendent Scott Goselin said. “All of our buildings are brick. Even when it’s 80 degrees outside, the classrooms hold humidity. Teachers and students are sweating. It’s hot. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not good for learning.”
The district’s interest in adding air conditioning results from two surveys. Of the 310 parents who responded to a survey, 87 percent were in favor of adding air. A Facebook survey also garnered heavy support, with 79 percent of 591 respondents favoring air conditioning.
Last week, the school board hired Unicom Arc as a consultant for a potential air conditioning project.
Right now, the district is eying a $6.7 million project that would add vertical ventilator units the size of a refrigerator to each classroom. That project also would include upgrading electric systems and replacing single-pane windows at all three schools, as well as replacing a boiler at Bradley Central Middle School.
“Times have changed,” Goselin said. “I didn’t have air conditioning when I was in school, but there are more regulations and sanctions coming upon us to make kids more comfortable in the learning setting. When I drove a car when I was young, they didn’t have air conditioning. Now, you can’t buy a car without air conditioning. Things have improved over the years.”
The district will form a community committee to weigh in on a potential referendum. School board members will decide in January whether to put the referendum on the April 2019 ballot.
“We are trying to figure out whether this is feasible to move forward with,” Goselin said. “We had overwhelming support on the surveys. Our next step is talking to parents and community members to make sure this is the road we want to go down.”