BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) – More than 50 schools in Baltimore County are still without air conditioning. County leaders are pushing for a new plan to install AC in every school—but the state doesn’t seem impressed.
Rick Ritter was at a town hall meeting Tuesday; he has more on outraged parents and students.
In Baltimore County, 33,000 boys and girls are still without air conditioning. Students describe the conditions as deplorable. County leaders are calling for the state to step up.
It’s a school year that started with early dismissals and kids not being able to concentrate.
“All you want to do is put your head down,” said a Patapsco High School freshman.
And parents are outraged.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Jeanne Cox, a Baltimore County parent with two daughters, one of whom has asthma.
All of this because 52 county schools are without air conditioning—a dilemma that’s even fired up the governor.
“It’s absolutely outrageous and disgraceful,” said Governor Larry Hogan.
The county now wants an advance on their state funding so they can air condition all schools by 2019—but it requires the state to approve accelerated funding of $175 million over the next three years.
“We’ve put our money where our mouths are, increasing the level of funding,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Tuesday night, students took the floor in Arbutus.
“It’s so hard to concentrate in a classroom like that,” said a Kenwood High School senior.
Comptroller Peter Franchot says he’s fed up.
“I’m sick and tired of hearing about children who are sick and tired just from going to school in Baltimore County,” Franchot said.
At Tuesday’s town hall meeting, Comptroller Franchot and representatives for the governor never addressed the county’s proposal, but the two did release statements expressing their disappointment.
A spokesperson for Comptroller Franchot says in part, “What we heard today from the County Executive was not a serious or realistic proposal.”
One from the governor adds, “It’s nearly impossible to respond substantively to budget proposals delivered to the press before they are delivered to the Governor’s Office.”
Parents are tired of the fighting and just want a resolution.
“We need to get the kids comfortable and we need to worry about their safety, first and foremost,” Cox said.
The governor’s office added they look forward to reviewing the specifics of the proposal but say they don’t need more press conferences—they need solutions.
Comptroller Franchot says the amount of state aid Baltimore County receives per student is greater than several surrounding counties that all have air conditioned classrooms.