TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to withhold some of Baltimore City and Baltimore County school construction funds unless they plan to install portable air conditioners by the start of the next school year.
Pat Warren has more on this latest response to a continuing problem.
Heading into the summer months has some city and county parents wondering if their children will again be sweltering in classrooms without air conditioning. They argue it shouldn’t continue to happen.
Baltimore City and Baltimore County are the only jurisdictions in the state with large numbers of schools that have no air conditioning.
“It was really bad. I was sweating like crap in there,” one student said.
The end of school this year could be much the same.
“It was really, really hot. It felt like the sun was in there,” another student said.
“I get migraines when it’s too hot,” said student Keami Sullivan.
“You can’t even read because all you want to do is put your head down,” said Alexandra Radomsky, student.
Some relief may be at hand. The Board of Public Works has zeroed in on the districts’ requests for school construction funds.
“The Board of Public Works withhold $10 million from Baltimore County’s request and $5 million from Baltimore City’s request until both jurisdictions return to this board with a plan detailing how they are going to install air conditioning units in all un-air conditioned classrooms by the beginning of the next school year,” Governor Larry Hogan said Wednesday.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office tells WJZ:
“The Mayor is disappointed in the actions taken by the Board of Public Works today to once again target funding for Baltimore’s school children. Although the issue of air conditioning and our children’s comfort is obviously important and we’re working to find solutions to ensure they have a healthy and productive environment for learning, she believes it would have been a more productive use of the board’s energy to spend time identifying ways to increase funding for our public schools and to support student achievement. The mayor looks forward to continuing to work on these issues with our state partners.”
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz states:
“Today’s action by the Governor is illegal and irresponsible. Obviously the Governor cares more about politics than building 21st century schools. We will continue to implement our unprecedented $1.3 billion Schools for our Future plan and provide central air to the remaining ten schools.”
The county has a ten year program. The majority on the board, however, consider it a problem that needs immediate attention.
The governor and Comptroller Peter Franchot both voted to withhold the funds. Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted against it.