Classrooms and offices have been set to 76 degrees for at least a month across the Osceola County School District as part of a management decision aimed at saving the district money.
But the move hasn’t been popular with some teachers and parents, who say classrooms are getting hotter than the 76-degree standard.
Jessica Fredrick said her seventh-grade son comes home complaining that he feels sick because some of his rooms are so hot.
“My son has issues regulating his temperature and it is exacerbated by the heat,” said Fredrick, a Harmony resident. “It is not getting better.”
When the rule first went into effect at the beginning of April, many educators posted about their frustration on social media.
The rule was implemented to save the district money so it could re-invest into teachers’ salaries, according to district administration. Teachers were told to report any high temperatures to maintenance so repairs could be scheduled.
On May 7 District Superintendent Debra Pace told School Board members that the temperature change has saved the district $60,000 so far, or a million kilowatt hours.
“If you think about it, that’s over 12 teacher positions a year,” Pace said.
But School Board Member Kelvin Soto pointed out it may be more difficult to stick to the new rule as the weather heats up.
“The warmer months are just starting,” he said.
Board Member Ricky Booth said that every time a teacher has approached him about a warm classroom, staff has gone out to inspect the situation and adjust if necessary.
“I’m fine with 76 and that’s what I keep my house at,” Booth said. “But 80 and 78 is not good. So, if we know we have some classrooms that are reaching that…we need to make those adjustments.”
Pace said rooms were cooled down an hour prior to state testing recently.