TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County Schools have closed dozens of schools that are still without air conditioning as part of the new excessive heat policy.
It’s the first week of school but some students aren’t in class.
Hot weather has already shut down several county schools without air conditioning and with the heat rising next week, more closures could be coming.
“It’s estimated these kids are going to miss 14 days of school” says Lily Rowe who has three children and two nephews in the county school system, “That’s three weeks of school!”
Just a few weeks ago, the school board passed a policy allowing schools without AC to close when the heat index hits 90 degrees.
The AC controversy caused a war of words amongst leaders, after Governor Larry Hogan, said he thinks schools should receive portable A.C. units in order to rectify the problem.
“This is no longer just about air conditioning in schools” says Hogan “this is a public health issue.”
County leaders are calling the governors comments outrageous and fiscally irresponsible due to the high costs of the portable units.
“We’re certainly not going to be bullied by the governor into somehow giving into his really, what I think is an irresponsible demand” says Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz.
The county has started to speed up it’s central air construction at schools like, Dumbarton Middle School.
The goal is to have air conditioning in all county schools by 2019.
“This should have been taken care of years ago” says Senator Johnny Ray Sallings. He says the closures are especially tough on parents.
“They’re going to miss a day of work, the kids are going to miss a day of school. We can’t have that.”
Senator Sallings says he plans to co-sponsor legislation that will call for the school year to start after Labor Day.
County schools will seek a waiver so students don’t have to make up days missed for excessive heat.