The optimal learning temperature for children was between 22 and 24 degrees, he said. “Kids basically learn nothing when it is 32, 35 degrees in the classroom. That’s not learning conditions anymore, that’s pure stress.”
The first round of applications opened in term 2, 2018, and more than 900 schools were approved. Local members delivered the news to schools around November that year, as the government promoted its $500 million Cooler Classrooms pledge ahead of the March 2019 election.
Applications for the second round opened at the beginning of term one, 2019, and the schools have been awaiting a verdict for almost three years.
Ms Mitchell said thousands of students now had better learning environments than they previously did because of the investment in school facilities.
“It is too early to say if the program will be expanded beyond the 922 schools already receiving cooling systems. Our current focus is on delivering this historic investment to the schools already confirmed under the program.”
Opposition education spokeswoman Prue Car said the government had encouraged schools to apply for the program, and discouraged P&Cs from installing air conditioners themselves while they waited for applications to be approved.
“It would be heartbreaking for parents at schools where they have been waiting for years, and they potentially face a situation where they’re not going to get it at all,” she said.
“Now there are hundreds of schools around the state that may not be air-conditioned. The government has to come good on providing air conditioning for schools that were led to believe they were going to get funded.”
In parliament, upper house Labor MP Courtney Houssos questioned why so many schools were approved in round one but not round two. ” We thought it was limited to sporting clubs and councils, but now it extends to our schools,” she said. “Our children who didn’t have the inside running are missing out.”
Ms Mitchell said the government was air conditioning more than 900 schools, which is almost half of the state’s 2200 public schools.
“In terms of the work that had been done on those 900-odd schools, which are in various stations of completion and delivery, that delivery of those approved projects has informed the assessment of the schools that nominated for round two of the program,” she said.
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