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Kenny Community School parent Maria Fernandez said the decision is common sense, “but the long-term solution is not only starting [the year] later and ending later … but to install air conditioners for Kenny — ideally for all the schools.”
“The poor teachers at Kenny, they’re suffering,” she said.
Costly updates, test pressure
With one school dating to the 19th century, the question facing Minneapolis is whether it’s worth retrofitting its aging schools that lack full air conditioning. A capital planning study that’s not yet finished estimates the 10-year cost to complete air conditioning of schools that have classrooms without it at between $275 million and $350 million, including inflation. That price poses some hard questions for a school board and district that already may need to build classrooms to handle rising enrollment and is in the middle of a program to replace worn-out building systems.
The alternative to adding cooling is for district to hope for cool weather for pre-Labor Day starts while laying contingency plans to divert district staff to deliver ice, Popsicles and fans to the hardest-hit schools.
That’s the approach the district said that it would use when it defended its decision to start before Labor Day for a fifth straight year, something it said would give students more days on task before statewide math, reading and science tests each spring.
Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438