Fountain Valley School District Addresses Air Quality and Climate Concerns

Fountain Valley, CA, September 13, 2014: The Fountain Valley School Board approved a resolution authorizing a community survey into options for addressing poor air quality and high temperatures in local school district classrooms.

Many parents and teachers raised concerns about students suffering from high temperatures and poor air quality during public hearings held to develop the Fountain Valley School District’s Local Control and Accountability Plan last spring. With temperatures nearing or exceeding 100 degrees, and inadequate air circulation to maintain desired air quality, teachers and children were suffering and students were finding it difficult to focus on learning.

At the August 14, 2014 Fountain Valley School Board meeting, the Board reached a unanimous consensus around three interests: raising the district’s profile in the community, increasing student access to appropriate 21st century learning technology, and “addressing the concerns that have arisen … regarding the air quality and climate in our classrooms which have an impact on the health and safety of our students and staff.”

“We know that our teachers and the children and their parents are very concerned about the increased days of unbearably high temperatures and poor air quality,” said Fountain Valley School District Superintendent Marc Ecker. “However, these groups represent less than 20% of our community.

 Addressing these problems will take a local public investment in our schools, and this survey will allow us to hear the voices of the other 80% to understand the parameters in which we should be seeking out solutions. It will guide our next steps in addressing these critical health and safety concerns.”

“Parents, teachers and staff have reported temperatures so high that children are sweating and unable to concentrate on school,” said Fountain Valley School Board Trustee Jimmy Templin. “We need to move forward with this investigation to protect the health and safety of teachers and children.”

“Community standards for air conditioning in homes and businesses as well as schools has changed since our schools were built in the 1960’s,” commented Fountain Valley School District Chief Budget Officer Christine Fullerton. “Most people now spend significant portions of their day in environments that have air conditioning, but most of our students and staff do not. The accepted standards for air quality now require up to four exchanges of air per day. However, as the Orange County school district with the second lowest level of per pupil state funding, we do not have the resources to address this problem in a timely manner without the consent of the broader community.”