Thousands of students in Fort Bend County will be sweating it as the new school year begins.
And they’re not worried about homework.
“It got really, really, really hot, and everybody was complaining about how hot it was,” said Rachel, a high school student in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District.
She and other Lamar CISD students who regularly take the bus are feeling the heat to and from school because the buses don’t have air conditioning.
“And it’s like 110 degrees outside,” said student Rhett Carroll.
KHOU 11 Investigates asked the 20 largest school districts in the greater Houston area how many of their daily route buses are equipped with air conditioning.
The vast majority – Aldine, Alvin, Clear Creek, Conroe, Cypress-Fairbanks, Galena Park, Houston, Humble, Katy, Klein, Pasadena, Pearland, Spring Branch and Spring ISDs – only use air-conditioned buses for daily routes.
Others have a large portion of their fleet equipped with air conditioning.
At Tomball and Alief ISDs, more than 90 percent of the daily buses are air conditioned.
At Fort Bend, Goose Creek Consolidated and New Caney ISDs, between 70 and 84 percent have air conditioning.
Lamar CISD has the fewest buses with air conditioning at 48 percent. Director of Transportation Mike Jones conceded it’s not where the district wants to be.
“It is not, but we are headed, quickly, in the direction of AC on everything,” Jones said.
Jones said voters approved a bond package last year that green lights $6.4 million to retrofit about 100 buses with air conditioning and buy another 50 new buses.
“I think the community understands that we’re not there but we’re heading there,” Jones said.
Jones said give the district about a year to complete the retrofitting work. Some Lamar CISD parents said they have that kind of patience.
“It would be nice to have air conditioning but it’s just nice to have a bus provided to him to ride to school so I don’t have to take him every day,” parent Jill Carroll said.
“Air conditioning, you know, it is what it is,” parent Rebecca Rautio added.
Just don’t tell that to her daughter.
“When it’s really hot, it’s terrible,” Emmi Rautio said.