Schools want parents to help pay for aircon


PARENTS of state school students who have fundraised to install airconditioners are being asked to cough up more cash to cover the ongoing costs.

It is understood a number of Gold Coast Parents and Citizen groups (P & Cs) who have worked to install the airconditioning units have been calling for annual contributions of up to $50 to cover additional fees for ongoing maintenance.

Only a handful of local schools were approved for airconditioning in the 2019-2020 state budget, they include Tamborine Mountain High, Tamborine Mountain State School, and Beechmont State School.

Schools have been selected using heat discomfort data, using a combination of the highest average apparent temperature data and the highest number of school days in Term 1 and Term 4 above 30°C.

Larissa Rose said schools hoping for aircon needed to consider ongoing costs.
Larissa Rose said schools hoping for aircon needed to consider ongoing costs.

Caningeraba State School in Burleigh Waters has called on parents to shell out $30 per year per student to airconditioning reserves, as has Miami State School, who also introduced a family airconditioning voluntary contribution.

"Help the P & C continue to offset the costs associated with the maintenance and running of the airconditioning units in our classrooms," the notice on the Miami State School website said.

In 2019 Ashmore State School introduced a similar contribution, asking for $50 per student to maintain air conditioners.

Environmental consultant Larissa Rose, director of Glowing Green Australia who works with schools said those hoping to install their own airconditioning also need to think about more than the installation - they should also consider funding solar panels to offset ongoing costs.

"There are many flow on effects of airconditioning installation including increased electricity costs, and upgrading the school's electricity system to handle it," Ms Rose said.

She estimates electricity bills can increase by between $5k and $15k per year for the operation of a medium split sized system, but vary on the size of the school.

"During a Gold Coast summer, schools could use air conditioners for approximately 40-50 days," she said.

The units are needed in multiple classrooms.
The units are needed in multiple classrooms.

"Hence a sustainable policy would be to marry alongside this a solar renewable energy plan to implement solar panels.

"Hence schools developing a sustainability policy to work alongside this to support renewable energy via implementation of solar panels."

Ms Rose said she is aware of schools who have asked for voluntary contributions to help cover the additional fees.

"I have my concerns around operational cost management, how are they actually going to pay for it," she said.

"Where is money coming from and how long will it take to introduce something to offset it.

"We could see schools introduce a levy for the cost each year if there isn't something in place to mitigate running costs and decarbonise."

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