NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Another building in the New Rochelle school system is running without proper heating of classrooms, this time the school is Albert Leonard Middle School.
Under §602.4, the Property Maintenance Code of New York State schools must be maintained at a minimum temperature of 65ºF between September 15th and May 31st. The only exceptions are for processing spaces (coolers or freezers) and vigorous physical activities areas (Gymnasiums).
Albert Leonard Middle School has two boilers both of which are currently not functioning and in need of complex repairs. The first boiler failed in March 2014 but has never been fixed. The second boiler failed over the weekend.
On Monday and Tuesday there was no heat throughout the entire building but with temperatures reaching about 50ºF the lack of heat was not as noticeable as it is today. Overnight temperatures dropped below freezing and have remained there all morning.
There are some heating elements on the roof of the school and they are currently being used to supply about 30% of the classrooms with some heat.
There have been noticeable issues this winter with heating systems at William B. Ward Elementary School, Trinity Elementary School, Christopher Columbus Elementary School, and the Barnard Early Childhood Center over the course of the winter. Little has been done to address the problems. At Barnard, space heater were brought into one classroom. The problems at Trinity have existed for over 10 years. Columbus was closed for a day, and will have a make up day in April.
UPDATE: Talk of the Sound spoke with the Facilities Management department of the New York State Department of Education this morning. A senior person in the department went to ALMS around noon today and confirmed the heating issues which the district continues to deny publicly. That person is meeting with district officials to discuss options. News12 is heading over to ALMS now; district told them there were no heating problems at ALMS. Best way to describe sitaution is that district is belligerantly misinforming parents and the public. Local media, City officials and others getting calls from parents.
UPDATE: Albert Leonard Middle School sent out a robo-call to parents this afternoon shortly before 4:00 p.m.
Good afternoon we want you to be aware of heating issues at our school today. Please be assured that they are being address as quickly as possible by school officials and the New York State Department of Education’s Director of Buildings and Grounds. We expect schools will be in session tomorrow and classes to follow a normal schedule. Thank you for your understanding and patience if you have any questions please feel free to call our building administration at 914-576-4339.
Three problems with this statement: (1) while there were heating issues today, there have been heating issues the entire week; (2) the heating issues have not been addressed AT ALL let along "as quickly as possible"; (3) the message was recorded by someone other than the Principal.
What is especially odd is that they mentioned the NYSED Director of Buildings & Grounds. That would be Carl Thurnau. I spoke with his office first thing this morning and the alerted him to the problem so he was there at MY behest not the District.
The teachers and staff at the school have all been told to keep the heating issue hushed up as if students would not notice there was no heat.
The question is why try to cover it up? A best guess is that they were hoping the problem would go away as the weather warmed up (and then it got colder), they did not want to pay to have the repairs done (as if they boilers will fix themselves), they did not want to admit that they had left one boiler broken for over a year, natural instinct of administrators in New Rochelle to lie, the school and union did not want to have "snow days" and have to have make up days.