City schools unveil 10-year renovation plan
Twenty-six buildings to close; more than 100 to be rehabbed
Baltimore's Northwestern High School is one of 26 school buildings the city plans to close in the next decade. (Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna / November 27, 2012)
The immediate crunch
City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said the new plan is the right move to get what the city needs. Clark said she was "already thinking ahead" about how to use some of the buildings so their programs wouldn't be lost.
"The most important part of the plan is to produce 100 percent functional and effective schools," said Clarke, who chairs the council's Education Committee.
"The negative part of the process is we have to reduce our capacity," she said. "We've been through this before. It is not an easy process or a happy process. It is very painful. In most cases, it's painful. We can't be spending [billions] unless our school facilities are at capacity."
At William C. March Middle School in East Baltimore, one of the schools targeted to close next June, parents waiting to pick up their children at the end of the school day said they didn't know about the closing.
Students were given a letter about the school system's 10-year plan to show their parents. Several parents interviewed in the parking lot said they weren't in favor of the closing.
Robert Epps of Lafayette Avenue, the parent of Keondra, who is in the eighth grade, said he likes the school because of its location and doesn't believe it should be closed.
"It's good for the kids in this area," he said. "They don't have far to walk. The kids are learning. I don't know why they are closing."
Beginning Saturday, the school system will hold a series of information sessions to get feedback from the community, and to hear parents' concerns.
The Baltimore Education Coalition has planned an Annapolis rally on Feb. 25 to support the plan.
Bishop Douglas Miles, a founding member of the coalition and co-chair of Baltimore United in Leadership Development, urged the city to recognize a "historic moment."
"In biblical terms, a Kairos moment, where there's a perfect confluence of events, of people, and of circumstances that Baltimore has never had in regard to its school system," he said. "Never before have we vowed to make such an investment in the lives of Baltimore students. This is long overdue."
Baltimore Sun reporters Luke Broadwater, Joe Burris, Ed Gunts, Jonathan Pitts and Michael Dresser contributed to this article.
Closings recommended in 2012-13
Baltimore Rising Star Academy
William C. March Middle