BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s mayor says repairs are being expedited at city schools in hopes of resuming classes Monday after freezing conditions inside classrooms forced closures this week.
Mayor Catherine Pugh says she has enlisted city engineers in addition to the Department of Public Works to expedite repairs, according to a statement released Friday.
The mayor tweeted out photos of work being done at a number of schools Saturday.
The issue of cold inside schools drew national attention this week, with pictures posted of students bundled up inside their classrooms.
Governor Larry Hogan said on Friday that he’s outraged, and he wants answers from school administrators. And he’s not the only one.
On Wednesday, former NFL player and current Baltimore teacher Aaron Maybin posted a video of himself talking to his students about the cold on Twitter. In the post, he wrote: “This.Is.Unacceptable.”
“The water is cold!” said one mother who spoke with WJZ, Chastity Spears. “It’s unbearable. There’s icicles in the classroom. The cold water jug is frozen solid. It’s inhumane for these children.”
Schools elected to close completely on Thursday and Friday, but some parents pulled their kids from class even before then.
“I’m outraged at the failures in Baltimore City,” Governor Hogan said Friday.
He said he wants to trace the money trail, after reports that city schools have returned $66 million in state money that could have funded dozens of new heating systems.
“The average school system in Maryland spends over 50 percent of their budget on schools,” Hogan said. “Baltimore City spends 11 percent.”
“They’re one of the few jurisdictions in the state that hasn’t addressed these problems, in spite of the fact that I believe they might be the most highly funded school system in America,” Hogan went on to say. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of what’s going on on North Avenue.”
Baltimore City Public Schools district office is located on North Avenue.
In a statement Friday, city schools called that “misleading,” saying specific requests for heating systems — including one for Douglass High School — were deferred by the state.
“It is also important to note that for the current school year we have allocated $17 million in funding for maintenance issues and have increased that amount to $19 million for next year,” Pugh said in Friday’s statement.
Despite their differences of opinion, officials agree the main focus is getting the doors back open for students.