Baltimore city officials and Baltimore City Public Schools supporters are celebrating today.
After a week of debate, Maryland's House of Delegates gave final approval to legislation that allows funding and oversight for the Baltimore City Public Schools' 10-year building plan.
The final passage of the bill, which now goes to the governor to be signed into law, will result in an approximately $1 billion investment in new and modernized school buildings and allow the district to move forward with implementing the plan.
A large majority-three-quarters-of the state's lawmakers stood behind the commitment to provide City Schools' 85,000 students and 6,000 teachers with classrooms that have the modern technology, heating and ventilation, natural lighting and drinkable water they need for teaching and learning.
Baltimore City Public Schools now begins the work of creating those classrooms.
"I think we can honestly say that never before have people from communities all across the city and allies from all across the state and from so many walks come together on behalf of Baltimore City's children," said Neil E. Duke, chair of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. "The many months of hard work by so many have paid off and are now playing out. The 10-year plan now begins to unfold, thanks to the leadership and commitment of our legislators and numerous partners. On behalf of the
Board and the district as a whole, I extend our deepest gratitude to all."
Last month, Mayor Rawlings-Blake proposed a city budget that provides $38 million for city school buildings, more than double the city's past school construction contribution and a historic funding commitment. This contribution-which includes proceeds from the city's new beverage container tax, state formula aid leveraged by the city, a general obligation bond allocation and table-gaming revenue-was essential to the new school construction funding bill.