Monday, January 20, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, January 05, 2020
Cooling the Schools: The Reality
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 874 Views :: Education K-12, Energy

Cooling the Schools: The Reality

by Tom Yamachika, President Tax Foundation Hawaii

It wasn’t long ago that, in response to numerous complaints of students sweltering in their classrooms, Governor Ige proclaimed that he would commit $100 million to cool 1,000 classrooms. At the end of the 2016 legislative session, he signed Act 47 of 2016 appropriating the funds to the Department of Education (DOE), and in 2018 he trumpeted this accomplishment during his re-election campaign.

As KHON2 reported in November, the $100 million covered only about one-tenth of public school classrooms in Hawaii. Those classrooms received solar powered systems costing an average of $40,000 per classroom. Fast forward a little, and we see that some schools that received the units found that they either have started breaking down or will only work for a short time every day.

KITV, in a more recent newscast this year, reported that one school, Niu Valley Middle School in east Honolulu, reported more than 300 heat-related visits to the school nurse’s office over the course of four months (August through November). That’s between 3 and 4 kids per school day needing medical attention. Ouch.

One teacher, writing about his experience on the “Cool Our Keiki” Facebook group, said that his school administration tried to fix the situation. “The DOE brought in a team of state workers to evaluat[e], and their recommendation? Wait for a sunny day so the batteries can charge.” In the six weeks that followed, he reports, there were plenty of sunny days but the air conditioners in his classroom and his neighbor’s classroom still don’t work.

Not only that, air conditioning upgrades may make matters worse at times. When some companies install the upgrades, they fix the windows so they can’t be opened, as KHON2 reported. If the unit fails for whatever reason, using the trade winds is no longer an option.

Why solar powered air conditioning? Because the DOE is under a mandate to have net zero electrical consumption to meet Hawaii green energy goals.

Is there a way out of this mess? The DOE thinks so, as it has rolled out a “School Directed A/C” program that allows basic, affordable window units if the DOE staff verities that the school’s electrical system can handle the extra load. It turns out that the DOE recently completed a large project to replace 700,000 light bulbs at Oahu schools with more efficient LED bulbs, reducing electric usage and creating the capacity to install air conditioning while still being “net zero.”

In a press release, DOE’s assistant superintendent for facilities and operations describes the window units: “These are less complex units from installation to maintenance, where we’re not having to tear down walls or install solar panels or battery systems. It will be easier for our schools to maintain these units rather than having to contract out for maintenance service,” she said.

“Things can be done much, much cheaper,” KHON2 quotes HSTA President Corey Rosenlee as saying. “You can probably do a classroom for $2,000 where before it cost $100,000. If a wall unit falls apart after 10 years, then you can replace it. It’s easy to look back now and say we should have done this 5 years ago.”

Okay, so where does that leave us? We spent a massive amount of money on our schools a few years ago and have gotten questionable results. We have since identified a much cheaper and more efficient path toward addressing the health and safety issue that still plagues our keiki. Educators, are there lessons to be learned from all of this? If so, tell your administrators! Let’s learn from this debacle and use our public money more efficiently next time.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT