Apparently with all other fiscal problems having been solved overnight in unreported news, the legislature is taking it upon itself to fix the last problem they could find. No air conditioning in many public schools.

It's the idea of Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight and Mila Jasey and it was voted up by the full Assembly last month. Now it needs action in the NJ Senate.

Basically it calls for air conditioning in all schools no matter how old, but technically says they can achieve optimal climate control in other ways such as planting trees near windows to cast shade or creative scheduling. Mmmm, no, we know that's not going to work and what this really is is an unfunded mandate by the state which would be extremely costly. Newer schools are generally not the issue. Imagine though all those older schools and the massive expense to retrofit them for air conditioning. When New Jersey's property taxes are forcing people to move out of state, are we really going to send this message to taxpayers? The two hottest months of the year see no classes anyway. And those occasional terribly hot days in June or September have been dealt with by having half days with enough hours to count towards the school days requirement.

I'm not being an ogre here. It would be great to have air conditioned classrooms for all kids in New Jersey. But when districts can't find enough money for the basics and the state government can't get its fiscal house in order, this really isn't the time.

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