Mesa, AZ — Some Valley school kids are feeling the heat more than their counterparts because their buses do not have air conditioning.
“I feel like dropping to the floor cause it’s really hot,” said sixth-grader Jessica Wilson.
If your child goes to school in Mesa and rides the bus there is a 1-in-5 chance he or she is experiencing what Jessica is during this especially punishing heat wave.
“Just like really hot and you’re sweaty and just makes you feel gross,” she said.
Her bus does not have air conditioning, and it’s not because it’s broken.
Mesa Public Schools says out of their 500 bus fleet, 104 are not equipped with air conditioning.
That is 104 too many in Jessica’s mom’s opinion.
“It’s insane. I don’t know how they can do that,” Trisha Raymond said.
A district spokeswoman told our crew they don’t really have a choice.
Amazingly, Mesa Public Schools only started buying buses that came with air conditioning in 2007.
Since then, they’ve been slowly and steadily upgrading their fleet. But at about $90,000 a pop, replacing school buses is not something that can be done all at once, much to the dismay of Jessica and her mom.
“I’m really upset and I feel bad for her that she has to ride like that to and from school,” Raymond said. “It’s a long time to have some kids on a hot bus.”
Jessica is on the bus for around 25 minutes each afternoon. She said without air conditioning, she is doing her best to try and stay cool.
“I drink water and sometimes when I have cool water, I put it to my head, so it’s not hot,” she said.
Her mom hopes that by sharing their story, they can get somebody to take notice and do something.
“It’s not right for kids to have to sit there and sweat it out,” she said.
MPS says its bus drivers do cool down the buses before picking up students, but they acknowledge a lot of that cool air escapes as kids get on and off.
The district spokeswoman says buses without air conditioning are only used on the shortest routes.
She also pointed out that it’s been unseasonably warm, even for Arizona, and recommended students bring cold water to help them stay cool.