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Schools under fire for lack of air conditioning


By David Collins

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    BALTIMORE (WBAL) — A political war of words Wednesday with Baltimore City Schools directly in the middle. Gov. Larry Hogan and State Comptroller Peter Franchot blasted the City Schools system for not providing air conditioning for students in all city schools after the school day ended early Monday at 24 schools due to lack of air conditioning.

The mayor provided a fiery response to the accusations from City College in east Baltimore.

School officials are puzzled by the governor’s comments. They said they are following the five-year air conditioning plan the governor agreed to. During the State Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, Hogan lashed out at the school district.

“It is unbelievable to me that this is still happening,” Hogan said.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is running for governor, agreed.

“It’s like Groundhog Day,” he said.

“Protecting students from the sweltering heat is critically important and city leaders have continued to fail in this regard,” Hogan said.

“Local political hubris is standing in the way of what we need to do for our kids,” Franchot said. “This constitutes a serious public health issue and remains a social-economic injustice.”

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott fired right back.

“What I hoped that they both do is put that partisan dog whistle back in their pocket and focus on what they voted for, and that’s the plan the school system has,” Scott said.

That plan, approved by the governor in 2017, requires all school buildings to be air-conditioned by the 2022-23 school year.

The city school system issued a statement saying, “City Schools is on track to meet that goal,” and “City Schools reduced the number of schools without air conditioning from 75 schools in 2017 to 21 schools as of August 30, 2021.”

State Treasurer Nancy Kopp asked for patience until the agreement ends.

“I think Baltimore City Schools are schools of great promise, but we’ll see what the facts actually are,” she said.

Meanwhile, the governor says he’s directing the state school superintendent to immediately provide a report on air conditioning, ventilation and air filtration systems in all public schools. The governor said he will be holding each district financially accountable.

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