Tempers rise over air-con

By HELEN JACK

LANCE KIRKLEY is bitterly disappointed with the NSW Department of Education and its Minister, Andrew Refshauge.

"I have not received an acknowledgement from him that he has received our letters," said Mr Kirkley, president of Old Bonalbo School council.

Mr Kirkley said any reply by the Minister to the school's request for air-conditioning had been channelled through local MP Thomas George.

"Maybe I have a strange idea of how people should operate. It's the lack of information that's frustrating," he said.

The school's council and P&C committee wants the Education Department to install air-conditioning under its Hot Spot Program.

But the department refuses because Old Bonalbo's average January temperatures, calculated by temperatures taken at Tenterfield and Casino, fall below 30 degrees Celsius at 29.5.

Any school within an area with average January tempera- tures above 30 degrees Celsius has priority.

"I am questioning the validity of how the department has calculated Old Bonalbo's average January temperature," Mr Kirkley said.

He said that temperature records had been kept by town residents for many years which showed Bonalbo's average January temperature to be well above 30 degrees Celsius.

"We have temperature readings that have been taken scrupulously and are phoned into ABC North Coast Regional Radio every day.

"Another interesting point about this temperature is that for most of January there is no-one in the school because it's school holidays."

To date, the State Government has installed air cooling in more than 800 schools, with $73 million having been spent air-conditioning schools over the past eight years.

Another 32 schools have been allocated more than $2 million to air-condition classrooms. They include Nimbin Central School and Wollongbar Public School.



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