DPS considers pushing back school start date to keep students out of hot classrooms

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DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools is considering pushing back the start date for schools that do not have air conditioning or cooling solutions in an effort to minimize the number of days students and teachers must spend in sweltering classrooms.

There are 55 schools within the DPS system that do not have air condition or cooling solutions. With high temperatures during the first weeks of school, Superintendent Susana Cordova said it creates challenging learning conditions for students and tough teaching conditions for teachers.

At Stedman Elementary in August, the FOX31 Problems found temperatures inside classrooms hit 90 degrees when outside temperatures rose to 97 degrees. At the time, DPS had 60 schools without AC or cooling solutions. DPS estimated it would cost $200 million to cool down all 60 schools — with an estimated $3 to $4 million necessary to outfit a single school with air condition or a cooling solution.

Now, DPS is considering push back the start date for schools without cooling solutions so schools would start later in the year and end later as well.

Cordova said DPS plans to present the idea to principals at schools without AC and see how many principals are interested in the idea. If there is enough interest, the district will figure out the next steps to implement the changes to the school calendar.

Cordova said changing the school calendar comes with some challenges.

“It’s a complicated process to come up with a calendar that works well with all the needs that we have,” said Cordova.

In August, DPS discussed the option of going back to voters in 2020 to ask for money to outfit all its schools with AC.

Elsewhere in the metro area, all 91 schools in the Douglas County School District are equipped with AC. All 13 Adams County School District 14 schools have AC as well. Out of 155 Jefferson County Public Schools, all but 14 have AC.

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