Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ) –For the first time in history, Baltimore City has the money needed to rebuild its crumbling school system.
Mike Schuh reports those who negotiated the deal gathered to celebrate.
For decades, superintendents have asked Annapolis to rebuild the dilapidated schools in Baltimore.
The deal Annapolis accepted forced Baltimore to put its own money into effort.
When the council passed and the mayor signed a 5-cent per bottle tax, it showed legislators that Baltimore had skin in the game.
“I want to thank the City Council for joining me in the tough decisions to get more local school funding so we could go to Annapolis with a stronger argument,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
That money, city school funds and state dollars combine for a $1.1 billion building spree.
Over 20 years, 14 new schools will be built and 30 will be rebuilt.
“The confetti was not going to fall on sine die without us having a deal,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Backroom politics were in play. Remember the governor’s successful gas tax? The city’s legislative delegation said unless the state found money for schools, the entire Baltimore delegation as a block was prepared to vote against the gas tax.
Now is a time to celebrate the deal as the deal-doers put it in perspective.
It’s “one of the most important developments in the history of Baltimore Public Schools and the city of Baltimore,” said the mayor.
Or as city schools superintendent Dr. Andrés Alonso puts it “Politics is finding out what’s possible,” he said.
And if all goes to plan, what’s possible should influence generations who live, learn and call this city their home.
The governor has said he will sign the bill allowing the financing. A master agreement must be worked out by November.