Complaints of cold classrooms hit 21 Austin ISD campuses

Burnet Middle School (KXAN Photo)
Burnet Middle School (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas went from near-record heat to near record lows over the weekend, leaving maintenance at the Austin Independent School District dealing with heating problems.

District officials say Monday alone, they received complaints from 21 campuses across the district, all mostly isolated incidents of single classrooms or libraries and cafeterias that were not warm enough.

Parents at Burnet Middle School say they had no idea there was an issue. “Imagine that! We’re sending our kids to school and we don’t know the heaters aren’t working. That’s very worrisome, to find out from KXAN, and not from school,” Almadeli Castrejon said.

She’s learning the impact of a 55 degree temperature swing over the weekend. “Hopefully they can do something at school because it’s not good that these kids are suffering the cold,” Castrejon said.

A thermometer at Burnet Middle School reads 65 degrees indoors (KXAN Photo/Leslie Rangel)
A thermometer at Burnet Middle School reads 65 degrees indoors (KXAN Photo/Leslie Rangel)

The maintenance director for the district says they’re working to correct the issues, but until that’s done, they’ll move in portable heating units to help beat the cold.

“We have a couple of more issues throughout the district that are basically isolated issues, heater not working in the cafeteria, heater not working in my classroom, those type of things,” Louis Zachary, maintenance director for AISD said around 1 p.m. Monday. “There were some classrooms that were cold at Bowie also, we’re pushing more warm air through the system, and from the reports I received about less than an hour ago, the coldest areas were like 67 degrees and the warmest areas were up to 85 degrees.”

Nearly two dozen campuses affected. At Burnet Middle School it was the library and five classrooms.

Ultimately they blame freezing temperatures that followed near-record heat that prompted many teachers to turn off their systems over the weekend.

“When we have the cold spell, similar to what we’re experiencing now, you have these issues and they’re uncovered and we do our best to repair them as quickly as possible,” Zachary said.

Schools that sent complaints of cold classrooms

Cowan Elementary, Galindo Elementary, Bowie High School, Gullett Elementary, Wooten Elementary, Winn Elementary, Dawson Elementary, Dobie Middle School, Pleasant Hill Elementary, Hart Elementary, Webb Middle School, Bailey Middle School, St. Elmo Elementary, McCallum High School, Joslin Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Eastside Memorial High School, Hill Elementary, Perez Elementary, Barrington Elementary and Burnet Middle School.