Today in Annapolis: Last Stand for Baltimore City Schools Renovations

This is an email from Frank Patinella, tireless leader of the Transform Baltimore movement. Get on the bus. And if you can’t get on the bus, spread it:
Transform Baltimore
Build Schools. Build Neighborhoods.
Last hearing to support the renovation of city school buildings – We need a big turnout!  Join us!

Goal: Pass Senate Bill 533 (House Bill 304)

This bill would lay the foundation to fund more than $1 billion in school construction and renovation needs for Baltimore City, and the upcoming hearing in Annapolis is our highest priority!

We had a great presence in the House Appropriations committee on Tuesday afternoon.  The room was packed!  Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Dr. Alonso sat together and gave testimony in support of the bill.  We also heard powerful statements from over a dozen students, school staff, community advocates, religious leaders, building contractors, architects, and other experts.  We need that same energy for the Senate hearing this coming Wednesday if this bill is going to move forward!

Can you join us?  
We’re providing bus transportation!  RSVP required (leaving from Barclay Elementary at 11:30am, see below)

Wednesday, March 7 at 1:00pm
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee
Miller Senate Office Building
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Bus will leave at 11:00am from Barclay (2900 Barclay Street) and return ~4pm.  RSVP as soon as possible to or call 410.889.8550 x 123 or 119 to let us know if you plan on attending.  If you will be driving to the hearing, let us know as well!

Ben Kaufman and Frank Patinella for the Transform Baltimore team


Frank Patinella | Education Reform Project
American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
410.889.8550 x 123 |

3 Comments to “Today in Annapolis: Last Stand for Baltimore City Schools Renovations”

  1. Hi Melissa,
    I’m sorry that your experience at your neighborhood school was so disappointing. I sure hope you’ll come and give the next closest neighborhood school a try. My son is a pre-K student at Margaret Brent (only a few blocks from both you and me). His teacher is outstanding. Seven of the parents that I know (of a class of 22) are educators. Two of the students in his class have parents who teach in the school. There is a full time Para as well as two Experience Corps volunteers which means that for most of the day the student/teacher ratio is about 4 to 1. Come on a tour of Margaret Brent. We’re not perfect by any means, but my kid loves that little preK and frankly, I couldn’t ask for more.



  2. I sympathize. I really do. And I wonder how many other parents with the option for private preschool even gave Barclay a chance. You done good. I hope you send a letter straight to Dr. Alonso, making clear that the physical condition of the building, lack of supplies, and lack of vision is not just about Barclay. (Otherwise he might just shut it down.)


  3. I went to tour our neighborhood school yesterday. In a commitment to fully exploring all our options, we tried for charter but didn’t do well in the lottery. That leaves us two options: pre-K at the neighborhood school or another year at the private pay preschool.

    We’re signing her up for another year at the preschool.

    The school is in need of major capital repair. The ceiling leaks, the bathrooms are in atrocious condition. It was so very, very hot in the rooms that the teachers had opened the windows and were running fans.

    The pre-K class had a 2d year teacher and when we arrived for our (pre-planned, announced) tour, she seemed disorganized, the class unfocused, the kids engaged in separate activities. She could not tell us what curriculum they use, if any. Other teachers were fanning themselves in the heat. The library and gym were well-maintained, but the art room was very small and under supplied.

    The principal seemed rushed (and perhaps she was) but answered questions incompletely, gave incorrect information that I myself gleaned from the BCPS website, and could not articulate a vision for school improvement (e.g., by next I’d like to be doing X) other than very generalist statements.

    I don’t need a perfect school for our daughter. I don’t need language immersion or stratospheric test scores. I don’t need Suzuki music instruction. But not to have a counselor on site? Not to have climate control that didn’t make me feel as though I was being baked? Or bathrooms that looked like they belonged in another century?

    The school parent council is of interest to me. But they meet at 3PM. In order to actively engage with school improvements, I’d need to take several hours of personal time each month.

    Capital improvements matter. But so too do the school instructors and administration. If this is the choice I have, then I chose to walk away from the neighborhood school. I chose something better.


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