DOE changes portable AC donation policy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

DOE changes portable AC donation policy

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Gigi Jones is a mother of four. She has twins in 5th grade at Kaelepulu Elementary.  On their birthday they received a fan as a present from a classmate.

"It's actually a really thoughtful gift," said Jones.

On Thursday she along with members of the Facebook group Cool Our Keiki were surprised to learn the Department of Education purchased 140 portable air conditioners in an attempt to cool sweltering classrooms across the state.

"Numerous parents have contacted the DOE we've heard nothing of this," said Jones.

According to Senior Assistant Superintendent Amy Kunz the agency is doing everything it can to make classrooms more comfortable.  Including appointing an expert in emergency management to head up the project who is exploring all options.

"We are looking to go to the mainland to try and purchase additional affordable units and trying to get them out here quickly," said Kunz.

Officials say they're also altering a policy currently listed on their website. In a statement DOE spokesman Brent Suyama says:

 "The portables are being purchased by the Office of School Facilities and Support Services for temporary heat relief measures because of this year's extreme weather. The goal is that these will be used in different locations for future use. HIDOE is looking at portable ACs as a quick relief situation and not permanent measures.

 And while we do not typically accept portable air conditioners, parents could discuss with a school about donating new units because of this year's severe weather. The parents would have to understand that the classroom may not have the electrical capacity for these units and that would have to be determined before installation. Those units may also be moved to other locations later."

Officials have already run in to that problems with portable units at Ilima Intermediate.

"We tried to provide portables within those classrooms and when we plugged them in, a fuse, it was over capacity for the electrical.  It didn't work," said Kunz.

A viewer who wrote in says he would definitely donate a unit for his son's kindergarten class.

"Because he's in there.  Anything to help you know get them in a better learning environment," said David Tanaka.

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