Thieves stealing copper has become a major problem in Sacramento as of late. Copper has even been stolen from heaters used for classrooms making some students have to bring blankets to school in order to keep warm. Because of the theft it has brought the issue of funding up. Where’s the funding to fix and repair these schools in need?
Schools in Sacramento, California become victim of copper theft.
Specifically the Twin Rivers Unified School District has been the target. Grant Union High School and Woodlake Elementary School are two schools that have been targeted and they are both from this school district. In October of 2013 the copper theft occurred which resulted in broken and unusable heaters throughout these schools. With reports of temperatures dropping to the mid 20s in December this was not the best time for students to experience no heat at school.
How the students managed the freezing classrooms.
The students ended up bringing blankets, sleeping bags, and extra layers of clothes to school. Some teachers had brought in portable space heaters but wasn’t enough to heat the entire classrooms. In addition to the copper theft it has been reported that since some of these schools are so old, such as Grant Union which was built in 1934, that some heaters and air conditioners weren’t even working prior to the theft. Some teachers have taken it upon themselves and have been taking pictures of the thermostat inside their classroom and sending the picture to union leaders. One picture read that the classroom was only 44 degrees while another picture, taken in September, read that is was 91 degrees. How are these students supposed to focus on their classwork when they are stuck in very cold or very hot environments?
Parents get angry.
Of course parents would get angry because of the lack of heating and air inside classrooms but a “party” sparked even more fury within the hearts of these parents. A party was held to celebrate new Superintendent Steven Martinez’s 100th day on the job at the Aerospace Museum in North Highlands. Not much information was given about this “party” but it was an invitation-only event which makes most parents wonder how much this cost and was is money that could have been spent on repairs that these school desperately needed.
A solution, for now.
Fortunately the voice of the parents and students were heard and repairs were made but questions arose out of how things were handled. First of all repairs started happening in Mid-December with 80 heating units being repaired at Woodlake. This left the school with 30 classrooms still needing repairs. As for Grant Union it was reported that there were new heating and air conditioning units bought back in 2010 that were never installed. This meant that there were some students that attended Grant Union that never had heating or air in their classroom. The official word was that the roof needed to be retrofitted first before the new units can be installed. It is planned for this April that Grant Union will finally get these units installed but until then the students and parents can only hold on to officials’ words. If it’s taken almost 4 years already what’s to say that it will even get handled anytime soon?
How it should have been handled.
It’s difficult to say exactly how it should have been handled. The main issue is the funding. Should funding be solely spent on the education factors, such as testing, homework, and supplies? Or should there be a set amount always set aside for school repairs? It’s a difficult situation but one thing is for sure, classroom environments need to be suitable enough for students so they can focus more on learning than how cold or hot they are. This means repairs should have happened right away. This also means they need to look at finding ways to prevent thieves from stealing the copper again. It’s not going to be an easy task but once it’s all handled it will mean a better educational environment for the students.