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Check out this letter to the PTA from City Council Member Brad Lander about some exciting things going on in our city!

I’m delighted to announce a huge victory for our #TooHotToLearn campaign: On Monday, May 8, Mayor de Blasio announced that the NYC Department of Education will implement our proposal to put A/C in every public school classroom over the next 5 years!

That means no more 100*F classrooms, where students and teachers can’t possibly focus. No more days when students with asthma or special needs can’t even be in their own classrooms.

The DOE will install A/C units in at least 2,000 classrooms per year—starting next year, in 114 school buildings across in the 5 boroughs—at a cost of $5 million per year. Where buildings need an electrical upgrade, it will be funded through the existing School Construction Authority capital plan. Over the next five years, this will bring air-conditioning to all of the 11,000 classrooms that don’t already have it (about 25% of all classrooms).

This would not have happened without you. This campaign was driven by students, parents, and educators from hundreds of schools. You shared your stories of brutally hot classrooms, of taking tests when it was impossible to concentrate, even of kids fainting from heat. You responded to our citywide survey, attended the #TooHotToLearn Rally on City Hall steps, and signed the petition, which was delivered this week to City Hall by students.

Students leaders from the Bronx to Staten Island made this happen with powerful stories and leadership. A special shout-out to student leaders Sam Levine (MS 51), Melissa Lembrouk (PS 32), Andrea Diaz (Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies), Avi Maryles (IS 72, who was unfairly suspended for his advocacy ), and students from the Brooklyn New School. Thanks to my colleagues, City Council Members Mark Treyger, Rafael Salamanca, and Barry Grodenchik, to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Comptroller Scott Stringer for their partnership in this effort. And of course big thanks to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina for listening to the voices of our students.

This is also a big win for “participatory budgeting” (aka PBNYC). We have funded A/C units in our public schools through PBNYC … but the budget delegates came to realize that it was not fair or practical to solve this problem one school at a time. So we decided to launch a citywide campaign for a comprehensive solution. It really shows the power of PBNYC. When we get people involved, together, in making decisions about how we invest our resources, we can make great things happen.

Thanks again for your partnership, and congratulations on this big win. It will really make a difference in our schools.


P.S. Looking for another great way to come together with other students, parents, and educators to support our public schools? Check out the 10th Annual Brooklyn PTA 5K Fun Run for Public Schools on Saturday, May 13th in Prospect Park. It won’t be quite as “cool,” but we’ll show we can make change when we heat things up, too. Register today!

And finally: While Marek and Rosa (my kids) think this may be the most useful thing I’ve done in my time in the City Council (even if it is too late to help them), they want it made very clear that they object strenuously to my “dad humor” puns.