Md. governor ‘outraged’ over unheated Baltimore schools

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blasted Baltimore City schools for a situation wherein kids sat bundled up in jackets, hats and scarves in unheated classrooms. 

Schools were finally closed due to a lack of heat. “I’m outraged,” he told reporters in a news conference Friday.

While the Baltimore City school board commissioners — some of whom are appointed by the mayor and some of whom are appointed by the governor — issued a statement saying the failure of boilers and maintenance are due to a complex funding situation, Hogan was having none of it.

Referring to school construction funding, Hogan said, “This is something we’ve been trying to address at the Board of Public Works in a bipartisan way.”

The governor insisted that the blame lies with ineptitude and mismanagement, not funding formulas. Referring to school officials in Baltimore, Hogan said he was “as outraged as anyone in the state of Maryland, and we’re going to continue to try to hold them accountable.”

State lawmakers representing Baltimore City have pointed out that the city’s high poverty rate makes it impossible for the school system to shoulder upfront construction costs. Hogan said that on average, Maryland jurisdictions spend 50 percent of their budgets to support schools. He said Baltimore City budgets 11 percent for schools.

Friday’s closure of schools was designed to allow Baltimore City school maintenance crews a chance to tackle the lack of heat in as many as 60 school buildings.

Lawmakers return to Annapolis for the start of the General Assembly session on Wednesday, where the issue is expected to get continued scrutiny.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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