Baltimore Education Coalition and Transform Baltimore Win House Bill 860 - $1 Billion to Begin Rebuilding Baltimore's Crumbling School Buildings!
After months of meeting with state legislators and turning out over 3,000 people to rally in Annapolis, the legislature passed House Bill 860, which is estimated to generate about $1 billion to begin the rebuilding and renovation of city school buildings. Special thanks to the members of the Baltimore Education Coalition!
The Baltimore Education Coalition and Transform Baltimore Come Together for a Night of Leadership Training!
Around 200 individuals representing schools and organizations from across the city came together at City Neighbors High School on January 29, 2013 to prepare leaders for the Rally in Annapolis on February 25th. It was a night of learning, connecting, and committing. Members of the Baltimore Education Coalition were given the basic facts of the "Block Grant Bill" in order to take the message back to their communities and energize people to get on a bus to Annapolis to make sure our children get the 21st Century school buidlings necessary to support a modern curriculum.
Community and School Groups Come Together for One Night, One Bill, One Baltimore!
Around 300 individuals representing over 60 organizations attended a Baltimore Education Coalition event on October 16, 2012 to bring the entire city together to Transform Baltimore. City leaders from Baltimore City Public Schools including School Board Commissioners, the Baltimore City Council, and Baltimore City State Delegation attended the event pledging their support for the Block Grant Bill in Annapolis this Spring. The evening included performances by student groups and a rousing teaching from a City Schools teacher that invited everyone to get on board the Block Grant Express!
Transform Baltimore and the Baltimore Education Coalition Host an Action Academy!
Community members from around the city gathered on September 15th, 2012 to learn how the Block Grant Bill will help Transform Baltimore city schools into modern hubs of learning. The event included around 40 different groups who pledged to help spread the word about Transform Baltimore in the upcoming legislative session. Break out sessions led by parent and community leaders provided participants an opportunity to ask questions about the plan and devleop a strategy for building successful organizing teams to help propel Transform Baltimore to victory in Annapolis this Spring.
South Carolina School Financing Expert Shares Renovation and Rebuilding Strategy!
On July 18, 2012, Brent Jeffcoat, a bond attorney with Pope Ziegler and an architect of the innovative financing plan that allowed Greenville, South Carolina to rebuild and renovate all 80 of its school buildings in just 6 years presented the basic strategies employed by Greenville to members of City Council and the pulbic. Jeffcoat explained how Greenville was able to leverage existing revenue streams traditionally used for maintenance and individual renovation projects, to finance construction on all of its buildings. The strategy saved millions of dollars in the process and brought state-of-the-art schools to its nearly 70,000 students. Watch a clip from the presentation here! For more information read the entire press release or check out more video clips from the event.
Students produce inspiring documentary on city school building conditions!
The Intersection, a group that fosters leadership among teens through community organizing, mentoring, and community projects, premiered an 8-minute audio documentary on Friday, April 27 that attempts to answer important questions about their dilapidated school buildings. How do conditions affect student and teacher performance? What messages do buildings send to youth? What can be done to fund a full-scale renovation program? Students conducted interviews with over a dozen education professionals, community members, and Transform Baltimore advocates, all of whom spoke passionately about the issue. Click here to listen to the entire documentary!
Advocates unite to support bottle tax for school construction!
On April 18, 2012, members of the Transform Baltimore campaign will gather at City Hall to advocate for a five-cent beverage container tax proposal that would generate $10 million per year in new revenue for school construction. This critical stream of funding could support an estimated $155 in borrowing, enough to completely rebuild 10 elementary schools or replace windows at nearly every school. Students, parents, educators, community members, and business leaders will share about the conditions of their school buildings and urge City Council members to support this initiative, a laudable step toward meeting the full $2.8 need. For more information, read our press advisory, bottle tax fact sheet, and an op-ed that recently appeared in the Baltimore Business Journal. The editorial board of The Baltimore Sun also expressed their support in a full-length article.
General Assembly requires state committee to study the Transform Baltimore plan!
On March 30, 2012, members of the House Appropriations Committee approved budget language already passed by the Senate, directing the Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) to study the implications of providing Baltimore City with an annual block grant for school construction. This action comes in response to the outpouring of support from the Baltimore community to pass landmark legislation that would lay the foundation for a mass-scale school construction and renovation program. The campaign will monitor the study closely over the summer to ensure issues are addressed, so that a block grant funding bill can pass the General Assembly next year. For more information, read the entire press release, approved budget language, and the recent Baltimore Sun article.
Economic, business, and education leaders call for action to renovate city schools!
On March 19, 2012, The Baltimore Sun published an inspiring op-ed written by three notable leaders: Louis R. Cestello (President of PNC Bank), Ronald J. Daniels (President of the Johns Hopkins University), and Thomas E. Wilcox (President of the Baltimore Community Foundation). The three authors argue that "the potential returns of a transformative approach to school funding are necessary, possible, and sustainable," and urge the General Assembly to "leverage newly proposed legislative options to steer the course to a more prosperous future." Read the entire article here or access it via the Baltimore Sun website.
Over 100 advocates travel to Annapolis for key bill hearings!
In late February and early March, the state legislature heard bills that could lay the foundation for a comprehensive school building renovation program in Baltimore City. HB304 and SB533 would provide existing amounts of state capital funding to Baltimore City in a "block grant," instead of being attached to specific projects, so as to allow for greater upfront borrowing. In committee rooms filled to capacity with supporters, more than 30 students, parents, educators, community leaders, builders, archietects, and other experts gave inspiring testimony about the critical need for this innovative funding change. Check out photos, view our press release, and browse media coverage!
Board of School Commissioners endorses mass-scale school construction plan!
On February 14, 2012, the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners adopted the SMART strategy, a school construction funding plan developed by the school system with consistent input from the Transform Baltimore campaign. The Board further resolved that city students "deserve buildings that meet 21st century standards and that support rather than hinder their achievement." Read the entire resolution here.
Major Sun editorial supports legislative efforts to fund city school construction!
On January 29, 2012, The Baltimore Sun editorial board suggested that leveraging existing school construction funds, a solution the campaign and school systrem have been pushing for, "could have an immediate impact... if politics don't derail it." Read the article here or access it via the Sun website.
Transform Baltimore goes to Annapolis!
On January 24th, nearly 100 advocates traveled to the state capital to support Dr. Alonso and the school system as they presented a proposal to use alternative financing for school building construction. Campaign members packed the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee briefing, sending a clear message to state legislators that our schools and our city fully support this effort to leverage capital dollars and renovate buildings now! See the press, photos, a letter from the campaign to the Senate committee, and the school system's proposal.
The Baltimore Sun calls for a full-scale modernization of city school buildings!
On November 20, 2011, The Baltimore Sun editorial board published a statement about the need for a comprehensive plan to finance the entire $2.8 billion needed to renovate every city school building. Read the full article here, or access it via their website.
Transform Baltimore on the Marc Steiner show!
Listen to Transform Baltimore members discuss the campaign on the Marc Steiner show, which aired on November 7, 2011. Representatives include Terrel Williams, teacher at Holabird Academy, Briauna Wills, senior at Baltimore Freedom Academy, developer Donald Manekin, partner at Seawall Development, and Bebe Verdery, Education Reform Director at the ACLU of Maryland. Listen to the full podcast here.
"Speak Out" Action A Major Success!
After the campaign collected thousands of postcards at back-to-school night events in September, over 200 parents, students, teachers, and community members shared about deplorable school building conditions at Transform Baltimore's first ever "Speak Out" on November 3rd. Members of the City Council and General Assembly listened as school teams spoke about the desperate need for repairs over the course of three hours. Advocates demanded officials to take bold action and implement a funding solution like the Greenville Plan. The event was covered by most of the major television, newspaper, and online media outlets. See the press, photos and postcard comments!
Transform Baltimore Campaign Launched
Education advocacy groups joined together to launch the Transform Baltimore campaign on August 18, 2011 at Booker T. Washington Middle School. The campaign, formed by the ACLU of Maryland and endorsed by the Baltimore Education Coalition, seeks to gain support for its proposal to fully rebuild or renovate every city school building to modern 21st century standards, using successful financing models used in other parts of the country.