Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed the hiring of an investigator general Tuesday night to look into why Baltimore city schools are failing to rescue children from frigid, icicle-lined classrooms. The problems that dozens of parents complained about at a school board meeting Tuesday night have brought blame on the beleaguered district.
“We shoulder a lot [of blame,]” Hogan responded to CBS Baltimore. “While I don’t have anything to do with the day-to-day operations of the schools, we have an obligation to help provide oversight and funding.”
Hogan is offering $2.5 million to fix the heating problems at the district, the fourth highest funded in the nation. The proposal for a probe into the years-long problems plaguing schools is being weighed by the Baltimore school board, who got an earful of grievances from angry parents fed up with the dangerously cold accommodations and recent closures on Tuesday.
“It’s disgusting that it’s 2018 and we’re debating whether students should have heat in schools,” said Jean Heller, the mother of a seventh-grade student, The Baltimore Sun reported. “We need leaders who lead.”
Children huddled in coats in a classroom is a horrible picture that has become synonymous with Baltimore. Burst pipes, damaged floors and inadequate heating have created a cocktail of danger at the schools. The conditions are simply inhumane, one mother said.
“There’s icicles in the classroom. The cold water jug is frozen with ice. It’s inhumane for these children,” Chastity Spears, who took her daughter out of school, said.
Repairs of malfunctioning heating and plumbing systems at several schools have occurred, Anne Fullerton, a school spokeswoman, said to The Baltimore Sun. However, the fixes have not kept students safe from the insanely cold temperatures at some schools. Six schools were closed on Tuesday. Parents, who are protesting the schools and have started a petition, were none too pleased.
The school system is planning to hold a town hall meeting to discuss facilities issues on January 22, the Sun reported.