The original 21st Century School Buildings Plan was created in 2013 with a bold vision that ALL students in Baltimore City will learn in buildings that embody 21st century standards of excellence.
To date, $1.1 billion has been leveraged to build or renovate and improve the academics in 32 schools in 28 buildings in neighborhoods across the city, from Cherry Hill to Park Heights to Clifton Park.
Still, the buildings in City Schools’ portfolio remain the oldest and in the worst condition in the state. City Schools has a $5 billion backlog in maintenance and repairs. Many schools still have major systems that are well past their life spans.
We anticipate the introduction of a bill in the 2020 legislative session that would provide an additional $400 million to City Schools to continue the 21st Century Schools program. We will need everyone’s support in fighting to ensure this bill is passed.
City Schools’ proposal for this $400 million is a focus on high schools. The high schools proposed for feasibility studies and potential renovations include the schools listed below. If the legislation passes, we will work through the list of high schools identified in this order and renovate as many as possible with the resources allocated.
Frederick Douglass building (explore creating a shared campus to house both Frederick Douglass High School and Joseph C. Briscoe Academy)
Baltimore City College
Western High School and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
Francis M. Wood Building (explore creating a shared campus for Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy and Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy West)
Edmondson-Westside High School
Over the past few years, City Schools’ graduation rates have gone up, dropout rates have gone down, and the number of students applying to and being accepted into colleges has gone up. The proposal to focus on high school reflects the district-wide priority to enhance the high school experience with programs and facilities that better prepare students to enter college, obtain advanced technical training and enter the job market.
The first five schools identified above represent some of the biggest buildings in the district in the poorest condition. The first three buildings on the list are the top three most expensive in repair costs when looking at a 2-year snapshot. Combined, these schools serve more than 6,400 students per year from across the city.
City Schools receives approximately $29 million
from the state in Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding. The cost of repairing major systems in a single high school facility can cost more than this. For example, to repair the major systems just at Baltimore City College High School would cost over $44 million.
Many of the schools on this list also represent the City’s most historic schools and our flagship schools. Renovating these buildings is about honoring both the students who attend these schools as well as our legacy as a community.
Frederick Douglass High School is the 2nd oldest US high school created specifically to educate African Americans.
Western High School is the oldest public all-girls high school in the US.
Baltimore City College is the nation’s 3rd oldest public high school in the US.
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute is one of the oldest high schools in the US and is Maryland’s first public high school to racially integrate the student body (1952).
This funding is not guaranteed; we need your advocacy now to get this bill passed, and we will need your ongoing advocacy to ensure we can continue to renovate or rebuild our school facilities until every child is receiving their education in a facility that supports their success.