This letter arrived in our email shortly after today's story posted about hot Hillsborough County schools as an issue in teacher contract talks:
My name is Rick Mobley and I have taught at Newsome High School for 11 years. Though I am not in the teacher's union, I was very interested in your story on air conditioning issues in the district.
Here at Newsome, these problems have been going on for years. It is important to note, however, that it is not due just to incompetence (poor maintenance) but a deliberate policy of the school system to starve our buildings of air in order to keep more money downtown.
I wrote last year to both the Superintendent and my school board members (Ms. Snivley and Griffin ) and told them what was going on at Newsome and requested relief. (Some days last year, some of our buildings had no air at all.) They did nothing.
Due to lack of air circulation in my building last year, I experienced more allergy symptoms than I ever have and went to my allergy doctor. She told me that she has many school system employees coming to her office with the same complaints and symptoms; that's when I realized starving our rooms of air had quietly become official policy.
I would hope that you will continue to cover this story. Should you speak to the Superintendent or Board Members, don't let them feign ignorance: I personally told them what was going on a year ago. Both Ms. Snivley and Griffin were invited to come to our classrooms and see the problem for themselves, but they couldn't be bothered.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.