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How low should classroom thermostats go?

Rochester schools are currently a toasty 70 degrees, but a turn-down is imminent in tight budget times.
By David Brauer

Today’s Rochester Post-Bulletin brings news that the school district — grappling with how to close a $10 million deficit — “could be looking at colder … classrooms next year.”

Currently, Rochester school thermostats set at “around 70 degrees,” reporter Elliot Mann writes. Lowering the dial and making other conservation improvements could save $220,000 of the $10 mil.

Speaking as a man known to his family as the “Daddy radiator,” I can tell you 70 would be Sahara-like at my abode. Because the closest thing I have to a super power is cold tolerance, I have tortured my family with the thermostat as low as 64, though fearing divorce and child endangerment, this year’s setting is currently 66.

Given the perilous state of Minnesota public school finances — which will worsen in the coming deficit-wracked session — Rochester’s prospective turndown won’t be the last.

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I imagine ancient heating systems and drafty building complicate the picture but teachers, parents, students, taxpayers: where should a school’s themostat be set? How low can it go before learning seizes up completely?