SAN ANTONIO – The superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District held a press conference Wednesday to give an update on air conditioning issues at some of the district's campuses.
Sam Houston, Burbank, Fox Tech and nearly 40 others have all had air conditioning outages this week.
Pedro Martinez, SAISD superintendent, said maintenance crews are working around the clock to fix the problems, but admited that as soon as one repair is completed, another problem pops up elsewhere.
To help alleviate the issue, the district has acquired 144 mobile air conditioning units to deploy to classrooms that need them because fans are just not getting classrooms cool enough.
Despite the perception, Martinez said the district has actually seen fewer work orders this year compared to previous years, but it's taking longer to fix the issues due to the age of the systems and given the extreme heat outside.
"We've had A/C issues every day of the year somewhere in the district," Martinez said.
He cited old buildings and the size of the district.
"We have hundreds of A/C systems," Martinez said.
Martinez said while the 2016 bond will pay for some of the mechanics to be replaced in the systems at the schools, it's not a permanent fix.
“Really the bigger need for us as we look at a future bond, to completely change these systems because because I use the analogy of a used car, first your battery goes out and your car is not working and you change the battery, the next day is the alternator. Well, change the alternator, the next day is the starter,” Martinez said.
Air conditioning problems at Sam Houston and Burbank high schools were fixed Tuesday, but the outage persists at Fox Tech.
Martinez said a failure in one part of the system caused other breakdowns and because the system is so old, the district had to get parts specially made.
Students from Fox Tech and the Advanced Learning Academy, which shares the Fox Tech campus, were bused to San Antonio College on Tuesday and Wednesday while crews performed repairs. They will also have class at SAC on Thursday but are expected to be back on the Fox Tech campus by Friday.
Martinez said he's instructed principals on all campuses to better communicate with parents so they can be updated on a daily basis instead of finding out there were issues after the fact.