Expressing frustration about the number of schools without air conditioning, the Maryland Board of Public Works has voted to withhold millions of dollars in school construction funds from the Baltimore city and county districts.
WBFF-TV reports that the public works board is withholding $10 million from county schools and $5 million from city schools. More than 60 city school buildings and dozens of county schools have no air conditioning.
"We have 24 jurisdictions, 22 of them solved this problem and do not have hot kids in classrooms," says Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who leads the public works board. "There's only two that have failed, Baltimore County and Baltimore City, and it is outrageous and it is disgraceful."
The Baltimore City district expressed disappointment over the funding cut, and said it would be impractical to follow the public works board wishes and install portable air units in 2,000 classrooms by September.
"Baltimore City Public Schools has worked diligently to develop a plan to increase the number of school buildings with air conditioning," the district says in a statement. "We are extraordinarily disappointed with the Board of Public Works decision to remove millions of dollars critical to City Schools."
The city district says the cut "places many key initiatives including fire safety projects, roof replacements, and important systemic projects in jeopardy."
After the funding cut, David Lever, who heads the Maryland Interagency Committee on School Construction, resigned in protest.
"It appears that the Board of Public Works now intends to use its authority over capital funding to compel school systems to meet its objectives irrespective of whether these objections align with local priorities," Lever wrote in his resignation letter.
Video from WBFF-TV: