Columbus, Ohio — Ohio would be required to study which of its schools have air conditioning under a state lawmaker’s proposal to put school construction funding specifically toward meeting standards for climate control, among other school infrastructure improvements.

HB 738, introduced Oct. 4 by Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg), requires the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) and the Department of Education (ODE) to study the status of school buildings regarding air conditioning, accessibility, and school safety. The bill also requires that once the study is completed, 25 percent of future school construction money be dedicated to air conditioning, disability accessibility, and safety.

The state lacks data on how many Ohio schools have air conditioning or how much it would cost to air condition school buildings in Ohio that do not already have it. Earlier this school year, a heat wave caused multiple Ohio schools to close or send students home early, sparking debate on social media from educators and parents over whether climate control is necessary for a good learning environment.

“Our schoolchildren deserve an adequate learning environment, and we must prioritize creating good conditions to make our school buildings safe, accessible, and conducive to learning,” said Antani, who is running for re-election. Antani's Democratic challenger, Zach Dickerson, said it’s been a known issue for years and questioned why Antani and others didn't address it sooner.

Publication date: 11/9/2018

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