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D-303 committee hears plea for cooler schools

Published: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – Although St. Charles School District 303 is working to equip most of its schools with air conditioning, some Thursday told board members the relief cannot come soon enough.

St. Charles Education Association President Pam Turriff told the Business Services Committee that fans have been ineffective against the hot, humid air.

“In most places, the heat was intolerable,” she said of her experience visiting the schools this week.

Corron Elementary School parent Brian Wilson said his daughter is asking to not go to school because it’s “sticky and miserable.”

He said he initially told her to buck up and researched the issue, intending to show her the situation wasn’t dangerous.

“I found that it really is,” Wilson said, adding he and his wife now take their children out of school when temperatures reach a certain threshold.

District 303 began a multiyear capital improvement plan last year to get all of its elementary schools equipped with air conditioning.

Turriff is concerned that the amenity isn’t being installed soon enough and that two middle schools aren’t included in the plan.

“Please help us,” she said.

The committee did not comment on the issue, which was brought up during public comment.

In other news, the committee supported an option to refinance the district’s long-term debt through refunding most of its Series 2005A bonds.

Robert Lewis of PMA Securities said a program through Bank of America could result in more than $3 million in savings.

“It seems like a pretty good option for the board,” Superintendent Don Schlomann said.

A resolution about the topic is set to be on the board’s agenda for Sept. 9.

The committee also began discussions about allotting more student parking at St. Charles East High School, which has about 60 to 70 open student spaces.

A system, such as a lottery, would need to be developed to allow for some juniors to have everyday parking like the seniors.

Estimated potential revenue is $12,000 to $14,000.

Board member Kathy Hewell noted that amount isn’t a lot, but it would add up over the years.

“It’s just money that’s there, being missed,” she said.

The administration plans to report further on the topic at a future meeting.

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