109 Air Conditioning Project Progresses

Board also hears reports on curriculum and school improvement as well as getting an update on superintendent search.

Air conditioning for the schools was an intense topic at Monday’s Board of Education meeting and those who waited until the end learned the project may become reality.

The District recently sent out a request for proposal for companies which could meet the schools’ cooling needs and hopes to have more information in the next few months. It will be a thorough search.


“If we’re lucky it will cost $7 million,” Board member Nick Begley said. “If we’re not lucky it could cost a lot more. That’s why we have to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”

During her report to start the meeting, Superintendent Renee Goier told people at the meeting everything which would be done to ease the situation for students and teachers on an interim basis was being done.

“All it takes is one hot open house,” one parent said aloud.

Board President Ellen London put things in perspective. “We’re going to make it work as best we can,” he said.

Before Begley gave his report at the end of the meeting, parent Marla Dobryn made an impassioned plea for air conditioning in individual classes. Her daughter has severe allergies which are exacerbated by extreme heat.

She talked about being denied special accommodations for her daughter despite the recommendation of two physicians including one recommended by a school official. “They told me if I took legal action they would put her in Caruso,” she said. “Why should my 9-year-old be there (at a middle school)?” Dobryn left before Begley gave his report.

In other action, Communications Director Cathy Kedjidjian told the Board the progress of establishing groups for public input into the search to replace Goier, .

There will be daytime and evening meetings of varying sizes. Whether interviews will be conducted solely by Board members or will include members of the public has not been determined. “We’re still looking at that,” Kedjidjian said.

In further action, Goier introduced new teachers and staff members in the district, school officials gave reports on curriculum development and steps being taken to improve the schools, a state requirement.

Patch will have stories later this week on the details of all three topics.

To better keep up with Deerfield news, follow Patch on Twitter and Facebook.

IHE September 13, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Ronnie the Limo Driver - It has been documented that depending on how the bids come back, the District’s existing maintenance budget could fund the project. If the budget can not fund it, fundraising will occur. Let's not get ahead of ourselves before we have ALL of the facts. I too support free speech; however, I do not support your negative comments. They are not called for. There are MANY people working to improve the conditions in our schools - clearly you are not one of them. Try to show some respect for those who are actually doing something rather than typing away on their laptops.
John Russillo September 13, 2012 at 04:51 PM
As much as I support A/C, you're first statement is simply not true, unless you can provide this documentation. The district is looking at $11.4M in maintenance items not including A/C which they believe can be handled within the current maintenance budget. The hope is that since we have an overfunded educational fund, those funds can be transferred to cover A/C, or we can borrow, or fundraise. Remember, we have some classroom and curriculum improvements on the table also.
Wendy Apple September 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
One of the options the District's architectural engineering firm Fanning Howey presented at a previous FDC meeting -- that the FDC/Greg said could be manageable with the current budget -- would be air conditioning Shepard and two elementary schools in 2013 with the following schools to be done the following year. However, this was figured with the costs that Fanning Howey estimated (roughly $1M per school) and in advance of the binding numbers that will be provided by companies that respond to the RFP. So it's still premature to assume anything, but the FDC did in its public meeting discuss the reality that it could be funded with the maintenance budget pending specifics from the vendors.
John Russillo September 13, 2012 at 05:59 PM
OK, but according to the four options presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting a few weeks ago, A/C was part of a $50M package which includes Life/Safety, maintenance items, early childhood, and STEM classrooms. I understand we can mix and match somewhat and of course it will be spread out over several years.
Richard Heller September 13, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I like the idea of air conditioning all the schools. I agree that it's needed. It will benefit everyone. That is an important issue. Keep in mind that providing for the special needs of students is also important. The excuse we heard about why they can't air condition a single classroom isn't even a well thought out argument. If one air conditioner in the classroom won't work, put in two. If two don't work, put in six. If the electric capacity isn't sufficient, call up ComEd and get the appropriate service. We live in an area where we could have this problem resolved in no more than a week. The board and administration argument is fallacious. It's like saying they can't provide a special lunch for a child until they solve world hunger. In this case, they're saying that they can accommodate this student until they air condition every school in the district.
Wendy Apple September 13, 2012 at 08:12 PM
That's right - in the long-range plan, the costs vary over time, and I believe the early childhood center and STEM labs were proposed to begin in years 3-4 and beyond...
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Why is it considered a negative comment to not have the same opinion as you? Sorry Im not just going along with your misrepresentations. I am absolutely in favor of improving our schools. I am a product of Deerfield schools, a parent, and a homeowner. I just don't have a lot of extra money right now, and I think there are others in the same situation as me. As a result, I am in favor of must have improvements, expenditures directly related to education, etc before I am in favor of nice to have like AC. I am no global warming denier, but at the same time, school is in session for only a short time during the hot weather, and since we have survived this long without AC, I don't see why that needs to change. If the district can pay for this without digging further into my pocket, and that doesn’t short change other NEEDS, then I am all for it.
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 13, 2012 at 09:00 PM
You make good arguments that actually are backed by logic. That is much better than 90% of patchers. The one thing you are missing though is the cost components. All of the things you mentioned cost money, some a little, some a lot. If the electrical capacity of the building is not sufficient, its not just as easy as calling up comed. You have to wire for new service, possibly upgrade the building wiring, circuit box, etc. These all cost money. Money is not unlimited.
IHE September 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Ronnie the Limo Driver - TRUST me when I tell you I am in the majority of people who feel your comments are negative, uninformed and hurtful.
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM
This has to be the dumbest post on Patch this week. Congrats. What did you do a survey? Do you get together with other patchers to discuss me? I completely understand that a lot of people are crying over my posts calling for fiscal responsibility. That is very hurtful and negative behavior. Im sure my posts on other topics such as calling for criminals to be punished to the furthest extent of the law are also keeping a lot of people up at night. As I have said before, I could care less if the majority thinks I am lucifer himself. I speak the truth, am well informed, and am only a danger to those who look to misrepresent the truth to push forward their own personal agendas. Instead of wasting time bashing me, why don't you get to work raising money for the AC you are obsessed with?
IHE September 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Ronnie - you are not worth my time. I am done. Get a life...and accurate information.
RB September 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Ronnie, you've underestimated the North Shore Entitlement Syndrome. I've always enjoyed your comments,particularly the ones that call out the lack of fiscal restraint when it comes to spending the tax payers money in this Village. If the parents can afford a new AstroTurf field, they can afford air conditioning. Bake sales and fundraising should begin soon,if they want the AC for late next May and maybe the first part of September next year...Combine the districts, combine the park district and the village....start saving some money and then perhaps the Village could fund things like AC which the students seem to have gotten by without for.....80 years or more. The special needs situation should be resolved but without air conditioning the entire District. Reasonable accommodation is warranted.
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Thanks RB. The North Shore Entitlement Syndrome grows like a cancer so its hard to ever keep up with it. Sometimes that cancer can be very dangerous or even fatal, as we have seen from some of our teens lately.
IHE September 14, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Ronnie the Limo Driver and RB - if you dislike the area, MOVE out of it. You won't be missed.
D'skidoc September 14, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I don't think NSES explains your position. I personally think every child ought to have a clean comfortable fresh classroom in which to learn. When there are as many 90 deg. plus days as there have been in this climate, with probably more to come in the future, it's not an unreasonable discussion. This is 2012. My parents got a/c in our house in the 1960s. We were ahead of the curve then, but to not have reasonalble control of the learning environment now is hardly a result of an excess of feeling entitled. When one spends tax dollars, one IS entitled to believe those dollars ought to go towards an excellent educational environment. We may not all agree on what is necessary for that environment, but veering off into anecdotal criticism and personal attacks aren't going to solve any problems. btw...Ronnie, you do have some good insights, but try driving your limo while its 90 deg out without a/c and your clients won't like it any more than a student and teacher can attend to learning when it's more than 90 deg in a classroom.
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I thought you were done with me. Why did you change your name?
John Russillo September 14, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Agreed. Somebody made the point earlier that we were OK with no A/C in the classroom because we didn't have A/C in our houses. We can't say the same about our kids. It takes them out of their comfort zone and inhibits learning.
D'skidoc September 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM
btw RB the turf was funded half by donations and can now be used by hundreds of students daily for PE and also for a variety of interscholastic sports while previously the grass could only be used once a week or so for football and then was torn to shreds. I call that a good investment! Not on the subject of a/c but a good investment none the less. As for combining all those units of government? I'd rather have smaller units with less overall power and responsibility so that if one %$&%s up, the entire system doesn't shut down. At least if 109 has issues, they don't directly affect the high school or the park district and vice versa. I certainly wouldn't want the same people who are running the Village of DF to get ahold of our outstanding high schools or library (notwithstanding their latest expenditures). The key of course, is having great people at the top, so a new super is the primary issue after which all will follow.
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 14, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Thanks for keeping it respectful. I am not against A/C. I just do not think it is the most important issue out there in our schools, nor is it a major driver of academic performance either way. So far since school is back in session this year, there has been 1 day that reached 90, according to the weather almanac on wunderground.com. Last spring we experienced record warmth, yet not one day was the weather above 90 when school was in session. If we had year round school here, like I personally think we should, A/C would be a no-brainer. However, school is not in session during the hottest months of the year. Our homes and businesses (and cars for that matter) are held to a different standard, because most of us live/work/use them all year long.
D'skidoc September 14, 2012 at 02:32 PM
And finally, yes the special situation described only highlights the desperate need for a new top-down style of management in d109. The way issues like this are handled flows down from the corner office. Obviously, the new candidates for administrative positions need to be a heckuva lot better at dealing with "situations" than the current ones.
D'skidoc September 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Just used 90 as a benchmark. Let's just say hot and stuffy, uncomfortable or even miserable. You wouldn't ask your lawyor or your accountant to do their best work in lousy conditions. Why force teachers and children to endure those conditions and then expect them to perform well?
RB September 14, 2012 at 04:57 PM
It looks to me like you would miss our tax dollars because at some point you're going to spend so much that everyone else leaves too. I'm all for paying taxes, and spending the money wisely. The Village, Schools, Library and Park District spend too much because they duplicate services and headcount. Our tax rates reflect unwise choices like the Pedestrian Underpass and a Park District that finds a way to spend money. A town of less than 20,000 people and we have 2 school districts? A park district? A library district? A water district? A township? Please. We are a small Village and each one of these taxing districts have too much overhead. Now, we have to deal with business closing and loss of sales tax revenue. It's not the time to spend more money, it's time to spend less money. Having these high tax rates and no AC in our schools is a perfect example of unwise choices being made in the past.
RB September 14, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The problem with so many districts is that separately they make decisions like an underpass that cost over $2 million in Federal and local tax dollars or a new Woodland Park, and we don't have AC in schools. One district spends while the other begs for funds to provide AC. Where's the coordination of our Tax Dollars?
John Russillo September 14, 2012 at 05:40 PM
And don't get me started on what we spent on a new library. That's A/C and more right there.
RonnieTheLimoDriver September 14, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Oh John, please don't bring up the library. My head will explode.
RB September 14, 2012 at 08:39 PM
It actually is a serious problem. Our tax dollars come in and then get prioritized by multiple districts, each with their own goals. The Village spends $millions on an unneeded underpass, the library - $millions to remodel, the park district $millions to rebuild Woodland park. Yet, from these comments we have a critical need for AC in our schools....and no money. My point is that all these jurisdictions are not prioritizing the use of our tax money. Which is needed worse? The school AC or that underpass? We got the underpass. The Village had control over that not the AC. Combining taxing bodies so we can prioritize and maximize the tax revenue needs to happen. Quickly.
D'skidoc September 14, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Each taxing district (from sewer to fire to school and on and on )has an elected board (or one appointed by elected officials) which is responsible for a particular area and responsive to the electorate. If you lump them all together you have representation by a very few and much less oversight of each individually. I see the point, just disagree to a degree.
PJL September 14, 2012 at 09:15 PM
The problem with the alergies is not the need for a/c, it is the need for clean air. How about not air conditioning the school, instead provide ventilation that pulls the outside air into the classroom through hepa filters. MUCH lower cost and the alergy problem is solved.
Wendy Apple September 14, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Not sure what the outdoor temperature is today, but my kids said their rooms were "horrible" today... It's truly like getting in your car sitting in the sun after running errands before turning the air on. No ventilation = very, very hot temperatures. I agree with another post though that this above all else is about cleaning the air. The air quality is terrible in our schools due to the preponderance of poorly ventilated areas, and the EPA and others say that cooling the air is the number one way to improve the air quality. So the library (I don't get it either) and other priorities aside, which come from other budgets in the current village structure, this is a health and safety issue -- yes a comfort issue too as learning environments need to be comfortable for optimal academic productivity -- but it's the health and safety danger that is so alarming, and it's getting more and more attention because the temperatures are increasing year over year (easy to confirm on a weather site), and people are getting sicker and sicker. Time to remediate the problem and do it in the most cost-effective way possible. These are not cadillac buildings and there are plenty of reasonably priced solutions, as evidenced by Lincolnshire and Evanston public schools' recent AC upgrades, etc., which hopefully the BOE will be able to learn from in continuing the process...
Tom December 03, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Everyone who has trouble with my child having air conditioning, please turn off the AC at your office. Never have it on. Work in some rooms where you can't even open a window. If it's too hot, have the company Moms bring popsicles and bottled water (at your expense) and rotate between sitting and working in your lobby (with AC) and your room. Oh, tell your boss to put out an email that it's ok to come to work with one of the little water spray bottles with the cute little fans. Turn off the AC and circulation in the disctrict offices too. By the way, parents from Walden have been offering for 4YRS to GIVE the school a system. One parent offered set up the bids. How much does FREE raise your taxes? How do you prioritize FREE? To paraphrase, we wanted to ask not what our school district could do for us. But, could we do this for our school district? The high school now has free astroturf. Why can't Walden have free ac?


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