Hillsborough County students and district leaders are feeling the heat from broken air conditioning systems that parents say are endangering student safety.

  • 8 classrooms emptied at Hillsborough High School
  • One classroom thermostat read 92 degrees
  • District: 15-20 schools have A/C issues on any given day

At Hillsborough High School, eight classrooms were emptied and students relocated due to overheated classrooms. A thermostat in one of the classrooms read 92 degrees.

It is an issue that district leaders insist they aren’t ignoring.

"It's a concern for our families; it's a concern for our employees, for our students," said Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins. "The expectations are high in Hillsborough County for success of kids."

Parent Danielle Anderson has children in elementary schools in the county and said they’ve been coming home soaked in sweat.

"If I did that and my kids didn't have A/C, I'd be in trouble," Anderson said. "So I don't understand why it's ok for the school district to allow it."

School District leaders said on any given day they have 15-20 schools with some sort of air conditioning problem. They said they are working to fix them, but said state construction and maintenance funding has dropped dramatically, making it tough to keep up with the growing number of repairs.

The district's goal moving forward is to assess the issues, act by spending millions in local tax dollars on air conditioning systems, and advocate for more funding.
"[The problems] will not go away until we get the assistance we need financially in order to resolve this issue," Eakins said. "In the meantime, we are working around the clock to make sure these issues are taken care of."

While she said she understood money is currently tight for the district, Anderson said safety for her kids and students across the county should be a top priority.

"There's enough distraction with kids alone, but to add heat to it just makes it almost unbearable -- there's no way my kids can concentrate in that heat," Anderson said.

While crews work to fix A/C systems, classrooms that are too hot will be relocated or equipped with a spot cooler.