CPS students prepare for first day of school as weather heats up

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Temperatures climbed Monday as Chicago Public School students, many attending schools with no air conditioning, prepared for their first day of school. (WLS)

Temperatures climbed Monday as Chicago Public School students, many attending schools with no air conditioning, prepared for their first day of school.

Although temperatures are expected to reach triple digits Tuesday, CPS parent Aiesha Powell said her child was ready for the first day.

"Backpack is packed, we have all his school supplies," said Powell. "We haven't quite figured out what we're going to wear tomorrow because it's going to be 100 degrees."

Most CPS schools have air conditioning but there are still a few dozen that do not. For the students at those schools, it's going to be a struggle at least for the better part of the first week of class.

"I get mad because some of the teachers hold us back to go to recess because sometimes we go into the computer lab where there is air conditioning," said Isaiah Miggins, a CPS student.

Isaiah is going into the 7th grade at Ruggles Elementary in Chatham, one of 61 CPS schools that still do not have air conditioning in the classrooms. Sullivan High School and Kilmer Elementary in Rogers Park, where the Garcia family's kids attend, are another two with no air conditioning.

"We don't have air conditioning in our school," said Romula Garcia of Sullivan High School. "We use industrial fans to keep us cool, it gets really got during the summer."

Just two weeks ago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to finish installing air conditioning units in every CPS school by the end of the year. On Monday at a ribbon cutting event at Old Town's Walter Payton College Prep, CPS CEO Forest Claypool addressed the problem.

"We will see air conditioning in every school and we will make sure it is completed as soon as possible," said Claypool.

The heat is expected to break late next week but until then, CPS officials leave it up to teachers at each individual school to deal with the situation as it becomes necessary.

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