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Multiple Fort Worth schools reporting A/C issues on first day of school

The district was reporting 22 campuses had "limited HVAC issues," according to a statement from district officials.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth Independent School District was dealing with air conditioning issues at more than 20 campuses Monday on the first day back to school for students.

The district was reporting 22 campuses had "limited HVAC issues," according to a statement from district officials. The district did not provide a list of campuses that were affected. In an update Tuesday morning, Fort Worth ISD officials told families in a letter that the issues "derived from aging facilities and equipment, compounded by unanticipated issues this August."

"We want to assure you that we are treating this matter with the utmost urgency," the district said in a statement. "We want to emphasize that the well-being of our students and staff is our primary concern."

Amaris Ruvalcaba is a senior at Trimble Tech High School in FWISD. Some of her classrooms are cool, others are not as cool.

"I think it's maybe cooler on the first floor. I was on the third floor earlier and it was a little bit hotter," said Rubalcaba.

Most schools in the district had fully functioning air conditioning, the district said. But, at the schools where issues were being reported, staffers were "relocating affected students and staff to areas within the school buildings where the air conditioning is functioning optimally."

"This proactive step ensures that everyone is in a comfortable learning environment," the district statement said.

District officials pointed out that the district's board earlier this year approved $11 million in funding to replace rooftop HVAC units at 22 campuses. It was unclear if the 22 campuses affected by Monday's issues are the same ones that are expected to get new rooftop units.

Deputy Superintendent Kellie Spencer is responsible for the district's infrastructure. Spencer explained why the district-wide AC issues came as no surprise. They had already inspected the HVAC units on the school rooftops. 

They're aggressively tackling other AC issues like the one at Overton Park Elementary discovered on the first day of school.

"We have discovered that when the sprinkler system was recently installed, a stake was driven through the geothermal line," Spencer said.

Spencer expects all of the repairs to broken or malfunctioning HVAC systems to be completed sooner than later, and even possibly before school starts Tuesday. 

North Texas is in the middle of a typical August heatwave, with temperatures routinely hitting the triple digits. The weather was actually expected to cool off a bit Monday, as temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s, but the triple-digit temps are expected to return later this week, and the high on Thursday could reach 107.

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