Mayor Rawlings-Blake Says Bottle Tax Hike Will Benefit City Schools

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Embarrassing. That’s what the mayor called the conditions at many Baltimore schools. Now she wants to raise the city’s bottle tax to start immediate repairs.

Monique Griego has more on just how bad things are from parents and administrators.

Parents say while they’re happy the mayor is trying to fix things, they want to know what took so long.

Old AC units, dilapidated doors and a building that looks like an abandoned warehouse–this is what kids at Holabird Academy deal with every day.

“I think it’s long overdue,” said Clezel Farmer, parent. “Schools needed repairs years and years and years ago.”

Principal Anthony Ruby agrees. He gave WJZ a tour inside the school.

Ruby says teachers do their best to dress things up, but it’s hard to hide the outside.

“It takes away from what we’re able to do for the kids, but we do make things as beautiful as possible,” Ruby said.

Because so many Baltimore City schools look like this, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is making it her mission to improve things for kids by finding more funding for school construction.

“We are at a place where too many of our schools don’t have AC. Too many of our schools have clouded windows,” Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor’s plan would raise the city’s bottle tax from 2 to 5 cents. She says it will raise $11 to 17 million and increase the city’s contribution to school construction by 140 percent.

And the mayor says there’s one thing she’s focused on when it comes to planning to improve city schools.

“That the proposals that we put in place will give us immediate results,” she said.

Parents and community groups have also been rallying for change. Angela Simonson’s daughter goes to Baltimore’s Freedom Academy.

“It’s awful. The bathrooms, the lockers, the smell and everything. It’s just horrendous,” Simonson said.

While parents and Ruby know upping taxes isn’t an easy choice, many feel Baltimore kids are being left behind.

“Their county cousins go to a nice new building. We don’t have that, and our kids deserve that,” Ruby said.

The mayor plans to introduce the city’s bottle tax hike sometime next week.

The mayor says the city is waiting to determine exactly how many schools need repairs and what it will cost.

  • why bother

    This woman really could benefit from some original thinking. She has no idea how this city runs. Please people vote someone with creative and constructive ideas into office.

  • ben

    “Old AC units” ??
    I went to school without air conditioning and it wasn’t even that long ago. I graduated in 1998. Why do they need AC?

  • Holabird teacher

    They need A/C because in most of the classrooms at Holabird Academy the windows don’t open, so once it hits 80F outside, we’re roasting inside.

  • mr.right

    Taxation is always the solution in the minds of Democrats! Raise taxes on cigarettes, so, kids can buy vibrators. Raise taxes
    on gasoline so the kids can have laptops, now let’s raise the taxes on soda bottles that way every kid can have a iPod. I’m not trying to be vulgar but, it is vulgar that every solution to the problem is raising taxes which in reality hurts businesses and also hurts the taxpaying consumer who is already paying out the nose! Instead of city officials tightening their belts fiscally they decide to mandate a text every two minutes there is a shortfall.

  • Stephen

    Why don’t you give up the Ravens skybox to help repair the schools rather than over taxing the people that pay for your bloated and undeserved paychecks?

  • Debbie

    Gee Stephen, you should know that only us lowly taxpayers can do without. Not our “elite” leadership. Give up the skybox that her firiends and family enjoy so much. Unfortunately, like our national leaders, they exempt themselves from any of the pain.

  • Eduardo

    Tax , tax, the only way small black majority minds can work in order to raise revenue. The revenue will be wasted on more minority positions & dead wood already in office. Balto is F……K’d.

  • Colleen Vanskiver

    Why don’t all you city officals take pay cuts and give up some of your perks to fix Baltimore City it’s a danm shame this over taxed state is always taxing the people and business more.

  • john

    putting lipstick on a pig may not be the answer. a feasibility study may reveal the need for new construction versus lipstick.

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