Guam classrooms sweat out air conditioner dispute

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Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A procurement dispute over air conditioners is keeping some Guam classrooms hotter than the maximum temperature allowed by law.

Some classrooms at various campuses are hotter than 84 degrees, while the U.S. territory's education law requires classroom temperatures be no warmer than 78 degrees, Pacific Daily News (http://ow.ly/l1ByY ) reported.

J&B Modern Tech appealed a decision prohibiting it from bidding on a new contract because the company is not considered a responsible bidder. The appeal has stopped the awarding of a contract to install and maintain more than 2,000 units in the island's 41 schools.

Once a ruling is made and a contract is awarded, the Guam Department of Education hopes air conditioners can be installed by August. The Office of Public Accountability is considering the appeal.

The dispute stems from J&B's contract to install 500 air conditioners, a job that was completed last year. Schools officials asked the company to replace problem units at Southern High School, Agueda Johnston Middle School and Price Elementary School. The company refused, saying if the education department had conducted routine maintenance such as cleaning the units, there wouldn't have been any cooling problems.

Schools officials said the company threatened to void the warranty on the units if they were touched by a maintenance vendor. J&B had lost the bid for the maintenance contract. In a separate appeal, the company said the department broke the law when it separated the purchase and warrant of the units from the maintenance.

Gregory Perez, a teacher at F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School was so fed up with the heat that he purchased air conditioners for his classroom with his own money. "I've lost confidence in our government's ability to deliver and provide for what the law dictates for our children and that is why I reached into my own pocket," he said.

Eight of his 13 years as a teacher in Guam public schools have been in classrooms with no air conditioning, Perez said.

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Information from: http://www.guampdn.com

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