Parents and students aren’t the only ones worried about the Clark County School District’s air conditioning problems. Taxpayers should also be warm under the collar.

During the first week of school, 24 schools reported campus-wide air conditioning outages. Some of them even submitted work orders for more than one day. It is likely that many more students also encountered problems. This list does not include schools where the air is only partially exhausted.

It’s not nothing. August in Las Vegas is brutally hot. It is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous to leave children sitting in stuffy, windowless classrooms. It’s hard to imagine much learning happening either.

With over 300 school campuses, occasional air conditioning outages are to be expected. Even modern technology fails. But 24 campuses experiencing total failures in just one week suggests a systemic problem.

The reflexive response of the educational institution to the problems is to blame a lack of funding. This excuse will not work here. Let’s take a walk in the past.

In 2012, the district decided it needed more capital funding. To achieve this, he pushed a ballot measure to raise property taxes. In September 2012, the air conditioning broke down at Diskin Primary School. The district temporarily sent these students to Decker Elementary School to keep them cool. District officials seized this as evidence voters needed to approve their ballot measure.

“The money this would bring to our school would help solve these problems,” Principal Elizabeth Smith said. “We are not the only school with air conditioning problems.”

The argument was clear. If the district had more money, there would be no air conditioning blackouts. One problem: Diskin’s air conditioning unit was not on the district’s proposed expense list. It was a maintenance issue. The ballot measure lost easily even with then-President Barack Obama on the ballot.

The clear will of voters has not stopped the constituency in its quest for ever more taxpayers’ money. In 2015, he asked the legislature to circumvent the requirement to receive voter approval to issue more bonds. Part of his talk was that the money would replace aging HVAC systems. The neighborhood succeeded. The Legislature gave the district access to more than $4 billion over 10 years. If that wasn’t enough, the district received another 10-year extension in 2021. Once again, the legislature imposed it without voter approval.

But wait, there’s more. The feds flooded the district with hundreds of millions of inflation-causing Biden dollars.

The point should be obvious. The district once claimed that if only it had enough money, students would not suffer from lack of air conditioning. But the neighborhood is now flooded with money and the air conditioning problem seems to be worse than before.

What happened? The district skimped on maintenance for years through collective bargaining that directed money to teachers’ salaries.

To balance the budget after the housing market crash, “we cut the number of janitors and preventive maintenance workers,” district lobbyist Joyce Haldeman told a legislative committee in 2015.

Even the largest tax increase in Nevada history in 2015, specifically to better fund education, did not solve this problem.

After becoming superintendent, Jesus Jara asked the city’s Board of Major Schools to review the district’s operations. In a 2018 report, he “found no evidence of a formal plan for predictive, preventive, or routine maintenance programs.” Additionally, “no formal process identifies or prioritizes deferred maintenance projects. There was no replacement cycle plan for school site mechanical equipment and other site needs. »

“The maintenance side is grossly underfunded, mismanaged,” David McKinnis, then-district facilities manager, told the school board in April 2019. “That in itself has put the district in a precarious position that we find ourselves in. today.”

No private company could afford this laxity. If a grocery store’s air conditioning broke, its customers would leave. But without universal school choice, many families are stuck in failing — and now boiling — schools.

The district’s failing air conditioners are more proof that you can’t fix a broken system — or even keep it cool — by pumping more money into it.