Age and physical condition of the structures in which kids learn are key factors in educational adequacy. That’s important to keep in mind while reading Baltimore City schools’ poor ratings in the recently released Jacobs report on the state of school facilities in Baltimore City. The majority of City schools were built between 1946 and 1986, while 23% were built before 1946. According to the report, 69% of schools rated Poor and 16% rated Very Poor for physical condition. When the numbers are added up, it amounts to students learning in old, dilapidated school buildings. That results in a failing grade (55) for educational adequacy.
In a Baltimore Sun article on the Jacobs Report’s implications, Northwood Elementary PTA leader, Claralyn McAllister, and Mayor Rawlings-Blake each were quoted about the need for improvement in City school conditions. McAllister said: “we want the school as a whole to look like somewhere our kids want to go, and be proud of,” while Rawlings-Blake, also a public school parent, said she “continued to be embarrassed by the conditions of our schools.”
According to the Sun article, the fundamental reason the state legislature failed to set aside money for city schools is due to “a worry that whatever plan the city might agree to now would be overtaken by new needs within a few years.” Sadly, time continues to pass while schools are not being improved properly. The need for a financing plan now is more urgent than State Senators and Delegates seem to realize.
City Schools CEO Dr. Andrés Alonso has presented a ten-year, 2.45 billion dollar infrastructure renovation plan, which includes closing underused buildings. At present, a new bottle tax brings in revenue for City schools, but there is more work to be done.
Baltimore City Public Schools is hosting a series of “community conversations” to discuss the 10-year plan to modernize Baltimore City Public Schools’ buildings. Each member of the school community is invited to the meetings. Contact your school principal or email firstname.lastname@example.org to attend the meetings. Click here to find out when your school is meeting, and please attend if you can.
Also, please contact the governor and your state representatives and urge them to value Dr. Alonso’s plan over less urgent spending priorities that would benefit fewer Marylanders in the next legislative session. Use CPHA’s Find Your Public Official page to find out how to contact your three state delegates, your state senator, and the governor.