BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City school leaders were once again face-to-face with fired-up parents and teachers over building conditions that left students in frigid classrooms earlier this month.
Before a full house Monday night, Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises addressed the root of the cold classroom controversy.
“I’m glad you’re holding us accountable. We have made changes, but there is a larger issue,” she said. “The larger issue is in the investment of school buildings within this city for these kids.”
WJZ spent weeks uncovering the numerous heating problems at dozens of schools during the recent cold snap. The frigid weather caused problems that led to these images that made national headlines.
At the town-hall style meeting, school leaders handed out a 10-page spreadsheet of all the schools in the district and the impact the extreme cold had on the buildings. The list totaled more than 100 schools.
A number of the schools listed on the spreadsheet are slated for some kind of repair or renovation in the coming years.
The head of the city’s teachers union says a new extreme weather policy is already in the works, but they plan on taking their fight right to the governor.
“We’re going to Annapolis on January 29th to lobby for more funds,” says Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union.
Governor Larry Hogan has pledged $2.5 million for emergency fixes — criticizing school leaders.
“We simply cannot allow children to be punished year after year because their adult leaders are failing,” Hogan said in a press conference on Jan. 8.
Many parents of students caught up in the controversy, like Deric Miller, are fed up with the blame game and are losing hope.
“It’s never going to get fixed, and the questions that’s going to be answered here, these folk don’t have the answer,” Miller said.
Educators are also ready for change.
“I think the time for finger pointing has passed, and it’s important for us to figure out what are we going to do to address the problem,” teacher Angela Campbell said.