Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Too hot for school?

With temperatures expected to hover around 80 degrees at midday, Monday is far from the hottest June day the region has seen.

Too hot for school?


With temperatures expected to hover around 80 degrees at midday, Monday is far from the hottest June day the region has seen.

But all Philadelphia School District schools are closing at noon, a move that has some scratching their heads.

"The decision was based on the weather forecast," spokesman Fernando Gallard said - weather forecasts officials looked at on Sunday called for a high of 85, with high humidity. 

A district press release issued on Sunday said that "temperatures are expected to soar to the upper 90's tomorrow in Philadelphia."  Gallard said that was an error.

"The majority of our buildings are not air conditioned, and they do retain heat.  It is our experience that if you have two hot days where you don't have the opportunity to air the buildings out, that builds up to having a very hot day on a Monday," Gallard said.  "We made a decision, and we move forward with it."

Students' final day of class is Thursday.  Many high school and eighth grade graduations are scheduled for this week, but Gallard said he knew of only one scheduled for today - Lincoln High's.  That will continue as scheduled, he said - Lincoln is a new building and is air conditioned.

Gallard said that cost was no consideration in the decision to close.  The district is in a dire fiscal situation, with a $218 million budget shortfall for 2012-13 that it must finance through borrowing that comes on top of more than $700 million in cuts made this 2011-12 school year.  But "cost is not a consideration at all," Gallard said.

Make no mistake - the district's largely old, unairconditioned buildings can be sweltering, even before temperatures hit the '90s.  But I'm interested in hearing your take - Philly school staff, students and parents - what were conditions like in your building today?

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About this blog

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham writes the Philly School Files blog, where she covers education in Philadelphia, both in and out of the classroom.

During the school year, you’ll frequently find her hosting live chats about the district on Philly.com.

Please do pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter.

Kristen Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
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