Build Schools. Build Neighborhoods.SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE PASSES THE BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BILL UNANIMOUSLY!We’re one step closer to achieving $1 billion for city school teachers, students, and neighborhoods!After winning a 107-30 vote in the MD House of Delegates last week, the Senate Budget and Tax Committee unanimously passed the Baltimore City School Construction bill today. Not only have we succeeded in getting more than a super majority of the votes, we are also getting significant bipartisan support.But our work is NOT DONE. The full Senate has to pass the bill before the Governor can sign it into law. The Senate floor vote could happen this week – we will send out a message asking you to join us to witness this historic event.We are also meeting with senators right now, leading up to this critical vote. If you are able to make calls or join us in Annapolis, please let us know!A HUGE THANKS to all of our partners – Baltimore Education Coalition, ACLU of Maryland, BUILD, Greater Homewood, CHAI, CLIA, Child First Authority, Baltimore Curriculum Project, Advocates for Children and Youth, the Baltimore Teacher Union, American Federation of Teachers, KIPP, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, City Neighbors Charter, Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, Elev8, Roland Park Parents, Baltimore Community Foundation, Fund for Educational Excellence, League of Women Voters, Seawall Development, Greater Baltimore Committee, Maryland IAF, and many more for being present and active over the past 3 months in Annapolis to move this bill forward.– Transform Baltimore Team
If you’ve been following the fate of the Baltimore City school construction bill, you were probably hoping for closure Wednesday night. The vote has been postponed to give legislators a chance to read the bill. Haven’t read the details yet yourself? Why wait? Download the PDF of HB0860 here. The bill returns to the floor March 21 at 10 a.m.
For national context on the state of the nation’s public school buildings, this article is also worth a look. It explains that a recent report estimates the cost of repairing America’s dilapidated school buildings at half a trillion dollars. Sounds like a whole lot. But in these days after the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it may be appropriate to note that Americans spent an estimated $1.7 trillion on that effort at nation building.
The time is ripe for nation building at home. Public school buildings are the right place to start.
I wrote a new post for this week based on a selection of articles and op-eds I’d read over the past two. Here are the links:
Alonso plans to close schools that are underused, dilapidated
Specific list hasn’t been finalized
By Erica L. Green
The Baltimore Sun
October 14, 2011
Why smaller is better
Our view: Consolidating students in fewer buildings makes the best use of the city school system’s limited resources
Baltimore Sun – Editorial
October 18, 2011
A big build for city schools
Creative bond financing proposal could infuse billions into Baltimore for school construction and renovation
By Heather R. Mizeur and Thomas E. Wilcox
Baltimore Sun – Opinion
October 25, 2011
Study Warns of Limited Savings from Closing Schools
By Christina A. Samuels
November 1, 2011
I called my 600 word post “Pointless Silos, or Will Rebuilding Baltimore City Public Schools Mean Shutting Some Down?” – and it was published today on the local website Baltimore Fishbowl. Check it out.
The Transform Baltimore campaign is organizing a Speak Out, where teams representing any Baltimore City Public School can tell the powers that be about the state of their school buildings. The purpose is to inspire the political will to raise $2.8 billion through creative bond financing. Get in touch with the campaign if you’d like to get a team from your school a five-minute slot on the docket.
Lead in the water, windows painted shut, classrooms too hot in the summer and below zero in the winter – these are all good points to bring to the mic. Speak.