BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The first three days back to school have either been canceled or cut short for the schools across Baltimore City and the county.
All this is because thousands of students would be burning up inside buildings with no air-conditioning.
73 schools with thousands of students are impacted. 10 schools in Baltimore County will not open for the third day in a row and in Baltimore City, more than 60 will close three hours early.
School and state leaders are pointing at each other to fix the problem.
School leaders say they have a plan in place to fix the lack of AC, but Governor Larry Hogan says the money has been there so why hasn’t it already been done
And while they point fingers, parents had to show up at noon to wait for their kids to get out of school hours early.
On what should be the second day of classes statewide, 10 schools in Baltimore County haven’t even opened their doors for the year.
Sending students home before the heat gets to be too much to handle in classrooms that don’t have air conditioning.
Now, the political blame game is heating up just as quickly as the school hallways.
Gov. Hogan focused his attention for the problem on local school leaders. He said they promised several buildings would have air conditioning by now, but they do not.
“In October of 2017, the Chief Operating Officer told us these projects were already completed. I have the transcripts of all of this right here. All of it was completely false, they didn’t do anything,” Hogan said.
Hogan said out of the record funding Baltimore received, the district returned $66 million in construction funds that could have been used to fix heating and cooling systems because projects did not meet deadlines.
“They’ve received three time the funding as any other jurisdiction,” Gov. Hogan said. “And they haven’t done so.”
Hogan says he’s handed out state funds to fix the ongoing AC problems in 28 Baltimore City schools, but it hasn’t happened.
The city’s lead educator says it’s not enough money.
Earlier this year, Schools CEO Sonja Santelises said she believed that $66 million was owed to the school system because they didn’t get the money on time. She also said Baltimore needs more money than other districts.
“We have a plan we’ve submitted to the state, so we have year-by-year targets for schools that are not being renovated to have air conditioning,” Santelises said.
“The real question is, is one of the wealthiest states in the United States actually going to acknowledge the compounded years of underfunding,” She said.
And while they do the red tape runaround, there’s no word on what it all means for students with the heat not looking to break anytime soon.
Baltimore County and City are not alone. The heat forced Prince George’s County to close schools two hours early.
“It’s a big inconvenience,” said Sierra Jones, a mother. “Absolutely. I’m like, ‘Who is going to take responsibility and actually take action?'”