By Rachel Menitoff


BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Public Schools without air-conditioning were closed two hours early on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

Temperatures were around 90 degrees Wednesday.

“I don’t understand why here in 2019, almost 2020 that we are still facing this problem,” said Gregory Pinkney, a parent.

Parents like Pinkney lined up outside of Poly and Western High Schools to pick students up two hours before regular dismissal. The call was made because of the unusually hot day and a lack of air conditioning in the buildings.

“Yeah, it was hot,” said student Elijah.

The City District said it’s been working as part of its Capital Improvement Project to install central heating and air in all of its schools.

“In 2016, we had 70 schools that did not have air conditioning and now we are down to 57 without air conditioning so we are making progress,” said Alison Perkins Collin, with Baltimore City Schools.

The Baltimore Teachers Union released a statement about the early dismissal, saying it “does not come as a surprise.”

BTU President Diamonté Brown said:

Our scholars continue to suffer academically because their instructional time is interrupted due to these extreme conditions. While the District works to find and implement a resolution for this ongoing problem, we, as a community, must continue to develop creative and innovative solutions, like the BTU fan drive, to help our educators provide our scholars with a classroom environment that is conducive for learning.

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Over the last few weeks, the Baltimore Teachers Union and individual donors have been dropping off dozens of portable fans in preparation for the school year.

The fan drive brought around 100 fans and nearly $7,000 in donations to address hot classrooms. A northern Virginia real estate developer also collected more than 400 fans and delivered them to schools on the first day of classes.

“If we’re interested in really having the kids excel we need to have a place of learning conducive to that learning environment,” said Henry A. Louis, another parent.

“Our facilities have a number of challenges that our students shouldn’t have to be subject to, so we do what we can to make our buildings as good as we can for students,” Collins said.

The schools without air conditioning include:

  • Augusta Fells Savage Institute: in design
  • Baltimore City College
  • Baltimore Polytechnic Institute: in construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • Belmont Elementary School: in design
  • Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy West: in design
  • Booker T. Washington Middle School: in design
  • Calverton Elementary/Middle School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2021-22
  • City Springs Elementary/Middle School
  • Claremont School: 21st-century buildings program
  • Collington Square Elementary/Middle School
  • Cross Country Elementary/Middle School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle School
  • Dickey Hill Elementary/Middle School: in design
  • Edgecombe Circle Elementary School: in design
  • Edgewood Elementary School: in design
  • Edmondson-Westside High School: in construction; completion anticipated by December 31, 2019
  • Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School
  • Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School
  • Frederick Douglass High School: entering construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • Furley Elementary School
  • George Washington Elementary School
  • Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary Middle School: new building under construction; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School
  • Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School: entering construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • Hilton Elementary School:  entering construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School: entering construction; completion anticipated by December 1, 2020
  • Holabird Elementary/Middle School: new building under construction; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Johnston Square Elementary School
  • Lois T. Murray Elementary/Middle School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Mary E. Rodman Elementary School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Matthew A. Henson Elementary School: entering construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • Montebello Elementary/Middle School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School: in design
  • National Academy Foundation
  • New Era Academy: in design
  • Northwood Elementary School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2020-21
  • Patterson High School: 21st-century buildings program
  • Renaissance Academy: in design
  • Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary School: 21st-century buildings program; anticipated completion 2021-22
  • Southwest Baltimore Charter School: in design
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary/Middle School: entering construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • Vanguard Collegiate Middle School
  • Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle School
  • Western High School: in construction; completion anticipated by June 1, 2020
  • William S. Baer School: in design
  • Windsor Hills Elementary/Middle School: in design
  • Yorkwood Elementary School

A year ago, Baltimore city and county schools, had to close on the first day of school due to a lack of AC in extreme heat.

At the time, Gov. Larry Hogan called it “completely unacceptable.”

The school district is hoping to install updated heating and cooling systems in all of its schools within the next two years.

Rachel Menitoff

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