BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Anger is still boiling over about shameful conditions in Baltimore City public schools, including broken heating systems that left students shivering in near-freezing conditions inside classrooms.
Wednesday, Mayor Catherine Pugh said $11 million more was coming to fix aging systems, on top of the $2.5 million Gov. Larry Hogan already pledged.
“These kids are missing too many school days,” said Jasmine, whose brother attends Calverton Elementary-Middle School in West Baltimore, which remains closed. “They make too much money not to be heating these schools.”
In an interview Wednesday with WJZ, Gov. Hogan again said he’d sounded the alarm about heating and air conditioning problems for years and noted Baltimore receives more money per pupil than all but three other school systems in America.
“Now they’re freezing in the Winter in spite of unbelievable amounts of money that have been put in from the state–that was in many cases mismanaged and misspent,” Hogan said.
The problems are receiving more national attention as well. Hosts of CBS’s The Talk tackled the issue after airing a CBS This Morning report about Tuesday’s heated school board meeting.
“These are Third-World conditions,” said co-host Sharon Osbourne on Wednesday’s show.
“How can a child concentrate with their coat on and shivering, and how can the teachers do their jobs? Why is this happening?” said fellow co-host Eve Jeffers Cooper.
WJZ asked Mayor Pugh about the nationwide spotlight being put on Baltimore’s schools.
“I think you saw icicles all over the country. It wasn’t just Baltimore City. They chose Baltimore City, Pugh said. “Kennedy Airport was filled with water. It was one of the deepest freezes in the nation, so I think you could go to almost any area of the country and found very similar signs of people being cold.”
She praised the work getting most schools back open. “I think we’ve done a yeoman’s job.”
Many still want answers. Packing a school board meeting Tuesday, furious teachers and parents demanded to be heard.
“Y’all need to get it straight. we need help here…. Anyone who tells you we value our children the same is lying,” one parent told the board.
“All of us let our students down and we cannot let that happen again,” Board Chair Cheryl Casciani told the crowd.
School officials set up a town hall meeting for Monday, January 22 from 6 until 8 p.m. at Dunbar High School on Orleans Street.
As for the future of Calverton, Mayor Pugh says the Baltimore Archdiocese offered the shuttered Seton Keough High School as an alternate campus. However, plans to move students are still being discussed.