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Debbie: I live in Florida and my children attend a charter school. Our children started class on August 10 and since that day, they have not had air conditioning in several of the classrooms. We have had record high temperatures and the average classroom temperature inside is between 87 and 88 degrees. I and several other parents have contacted the principal (who only has so much authority) when the problem still was not fixed. I contacted the head of the Charter School, who said the problems would be resolved. In addition to that, my daughter math classroom has a leak where the teacher uses a garbage pail to collect the rain. As you know, it rains an awful lot in Florida. This has been going on for almost 2 years. There are email trails, stating the parents concerns. We have several ‘campuses’ in the Pinellas County area. Sadly our campus is not the worst. We have contacted the Pinellas County School Board, the health department, the news did a report on Tuesday at the Largo campus. Short of pulling our children out, we are at a loss as what to do. For the most part like our school, we elected to send our children here because of the smaller class rooms and personal attention. However, none of us the school is doing what needs to be done to take care of our children and foster an environment that is conducive to learning. Can you please advise on where we go next? For the most part, we are trying not to make this into some witch hunt, we just want the problems taken care of.

  1. I don’t know much about charter schools.

    In general, it is certainly very helpful when you can get other parents involved with you. You can request a meeting with an administrator — make sure you find out from the other parents what days and times work for the most people. You can be creative and attend a Board of Education meeting with raincoats and umbrellas. You can write letters to the editor and get on the television news.

    I’m sorry that I don’t know which of these would be appropriate in the case of a charter school.

    One thing, though, I’m pretty sure would be worth a try: get the director of the health department to visit the school with you and some other parents if possible.

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