BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three buses full of educators and people who work in the education system in Baltimore City went to Annapolis to demand more money for schools. Many are hopeful the recent spotlight on the district following the cold schools debacle means their pleas won’t be ignored this session.
A bustling crowd brought with them one clear message to lawmakers in Maryland’s capital Monday: Funding for Baltimore City Public Schools.
The president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, Marietta English, is not alone in her request for more money. Other labor unions were also present at “Lobby Night” as they pushed for more funding for schools.
Antoinette Ryan-Johnson is the president of the City Union of Baltimore, which includes employees in the public school system — mainly cleaning and cafeteria staff.
[Reporter: Are these groups also underfunded?]
“Yes they are, and we need more people in those positions,” Ryan-Johnson said.
The issue of funding for city schools came to a boiling point in early January as Baltimore was thrown into the national spotlight after images and videos surfaced of schools so cold students were in class in coats.
Other images shed light on aging infrastructure that ultimately shut down dozens of schools for several days.
At least one lawmaker agreed that face-to-face meetings can often prove more effective than any phone call or email.
“Anytime an advocate can actually come here and you see them in person it’s the most effective thing that you can do,” Del. Vanessa Atterbeary said.
Ultimately, it’s the governor’s attention that these groups want most.
Gov. Larry Hogan has already committed $2.5 million for emergency fixes. At a press conference earlier this month, the governor was critical of school leadership.
“We simply cannot allow children to be punished year after year because their adult leaders are failing,” Hogan said.
Some educators are taking issue with those remarks and saying bottom line: They just need more money.
“It’s just a band-aid to put on the situation,” English said.
At a previous Baltimore City Public Schools board meeting, WJZ learned that there are more than 100 schools in the district that need some kind of repair work after the recent cold snap.