CEDAR PARK, Texas — The Leander Independent School District is taking heat from parents who want air conditioning on school buses. 

The district has 280 buses and none of them, except for the 60 buses serving students with special needs, have air conditioning. 

Jenn Cieslar is a mother of four, who lives in Cedar Park. Her eldest son who is in high school said the bus is “ridiculously hot,” and has asked to be picked up instead.

“I think he’d rather be in his pads on the football field than sitting on that sweaty hot bus,” Cieslar said. 

There is now a growing online campaign of parents and other supporters calling for changes. 

“It’s just not right,” Cieslar said. “We don’t leave our kids in the car, alone, hot, we don’t leave our pets in the car alone. We always have the air conditioning running.”

According to Leander ISD, they do not have air conditioning on buses because of the budget. 

In a statement, School Board President Aaron Johnson said, “The Leander ISD Board of Trustees appreciates, welcomes and values the input of our parents and community members. We are listening. We are working with and encouraging district administration to identify both short and long term solutions to keep kids safe and minimize travel times on school buses. Our campus leaders have been proactive in finding solutions to meet their individual school’s needs, including providing water and adjusting dismissal procedures.”

The board is now considering the cost of: 

  • Retrofitting the bus fleet with air conditioning 
  • Purchasing new buses with air conditioning
  • Partnering with our District Wide Educational Improvement Committee (DWEIC) to consider bell schedule adjustments for high schools and middle schools

“We should have maybe examined this problem or examined some buses before school started, but I think the quicker the better,” Cieslar said.  

Spectrum News has also reached out to other districts in our area. All school buses at Eanes ISD, Lake Travis ISD and Hays CISD have air conditioning.  At Manor ISD, 60 percent of the 100 buses have air conditioning. Austin ISD said 41 percent off its 486 buses have air conditioning. Meanwhile, Round Rock ISD said its buses “typically have air conditioning.”