Broken heaters are making learning conditions almost unbearable in the Twin Rivers Unified School District. It has gotten so bad, California Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg the is calling for action.
"It's really cold, and I don't like being cold, so it's kind of hard," Grant Union High School Junior Ariel Bradford said.
Over the past several months, the heaters haven't been working correctly in hundreds of classrooms across the district, leaving students stuck in frigid classes as they try to learn and stay warm.A Twin Rivers School District teacher took a picture of the thermostat in her classroom that read 44 degrees.
The cold conditions have many parents frustrated.
"It worries me; I don't want her to get sick or bones aching at school with the cold air," parent Brandi Frasier said. "The kids deserve a comfortable learning environment."
The district admits some of their heating systems have failed because of lack of regular maintenance. It affected the cooling systems too.Classrooms reached 91 degrees last September. Many of those systems have been running for more than 50 years.
"We've completed over 300 work orders, so as fast as any of them are going out of service, we're there the next day fixing them," Superintendent Steven Martinez said.
But it's not fast enough for some teachers and students.The rough learning conditions even caught the Steinberg's attention.
"It's got to be fixed; it's got to be fixed right away," Steinberg said.
"I echo that. I think our whole district echoes that," Martinez said."Our number one focus is to provide a safe, learning, clean, heated or cool learning environment for all students."
District officials said there are now about 20 classrooms that still need to be fixed. Last year, the school board passed a resolution to free up $1 million in funds for emergency repairs.
"We're doing everything we can with resources that we have," Martinez said.