BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Catherine Pugh released details of her much-anticipated anti-violence plan Wednesday.
She listed four basic plan tenants: making Baltimore safe, keeping Baltimore healthy, engaging Baltimore youth and continuing to move the city forward.
One of her ideas addressing Baltimore youth: making Baltimore City Community College free for city students.
College instead of crime. That’s the mayor’s plan to stop the out of control bloodshed on city streets.
Starting next year, graduating Baltimore City high schoolers will get a free ride to Baltimore City Community College.
The mayor hopes leading high school grads into the classroom will get them away from crime.
Go to college. Skip the bill. Baltimore City Community College will soon come at no cost to city students.
“We believe that is a step in the right direction in terms of an investment in our young people,” Pugh said.
The mayor is trying to steer them away from violent crime and into the classroom, by offering a two-year degree with no tuition.
Something only a handful of schools around the country do now.
“We’re giving our young people hope,” Pugh said. “You can go to college. You can get a career.”
Mayor Pugh hasn’t said who’s going to foot the bill, but she puts the price tag at $1.5 million, which is enough to cover 500 to 1000 students a year.
Students like Anthony Miles.
“If you just give us a chance, we will show you that we have something to produce,” Miles said.
He’s just starting his pursuit of a BCCC degree, a launching pad to a future as a physical therapist.
He likes the idea of not digging into his pockets to cover the cost.
“It would give so many people opportunities, like at risk,” he said. “It would do so much for us. This is a life changing opportunity.”
This is one part of a citywide violence reduction plan, now especially focused in on Baltimore’s youth.
The mayor also talked about a continued focus on better policing and structural improvements, like more street lights.