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Council President calls on Mayor to increase funding for city school system

Baltimore City Council President Brandon M. Scott has called on Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young to commit a recently revealed $34 million city budget surplus to heat and air conditioning in Baltimore City Schools. 

The request was made in a letter sent to the Mayor’s Office on Wednesday, October 16.

“I write today concerning our shared commitment to providing adequate funding for Baltimore’s schools and their infrastructure. In preparation for the impending winter, we must work to ensure our young people do not miss instructional time due to a lack of adequate heat in their school building,” writes Council President Scott.  A statement from Scott’s office says Baltimore City Schools data show that 60% of school buildings lack air conditioning. Over the last month, 49 schools had to be closed for the day because of high temperatures. Without intervention, students are expected to lose even more classroom time due to inadequate heating.

This fiscal year, the City of Baltimore faces a projected budget surplus of $34 million. This surplus exists after accounting for several supplemental appropriations passed by the City Council at the close of the last fiscal year. This information was revealed during the Bureau of Budget and Management Research’s quarterly budget briefing to the Baltimore City Council on September 26.

“Given the acute nature of the need, I urge you to assign this anticipated $34 million surplus to Baltimore City Public Schools as an initial contribution toward BCPSS’s Air-Conditioning Plan,” continues Council President Scott. “I understand this amount is unaudited and may decrease, and that this contribution would only supplement, and not supplant, the City’s normal contribution.”

The Baltimore City Public School Air-Conditioning Plan estimates the total cost of installing adequate heating and air conditioning at between $54,120,000 to $67,650,000. If allocated, the $34 million City surplus would account for more than half of that amount.