Over the past several years, Baltimore County has made steady progress as it seeks to air condition all its public schools. Despite limited funding, the county is on track to reduce the number of schools lacking air conditioning from 54 percent in 2010 to 36 percent within two years.
Unfortunately, that progress is not shared uniformly throughout Baltimore County. There is a significant disparity between the western, northern and eastern parts of the county.
Looking at schools by County Council district, after the current round of air conditioning, the number of non-air conditioned schools will stand at 28 percent in the 1st District (Catonsville); 19 percent in the 2nd District (Pikesville and Reisterstown); 20 percent in the 3rd District (Cockeysville); and 18 percent in the 4th District (Randallstown).
In the 5th District that I represent, 35 percent of schools will still need air conditioning.
The number is 40 percent in the 6th District, which stretches from Parkville to Middle River, and 36 percent in the Seventh District, based in Dundalk.
When County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and I wrote to the school system, the response from the director of physical facilities indicated that "the final selection of projects is based upon several factors, including geographical parity."
The current list for immediate funding excludes nearly every school from Loch Raven to Kingsville. I don't know how this reflects geographical parity.
I am urging the school system to reevaluate this list so that it better reflects geographic equity.
Students in north central and eastern Baltimore County deserve the same access to air conditioning as those in western and far northern Baltimore County.
David Marks, County Council, 5th District
Councilman Marks represents the 5th District, which includes Towson and Perry Hall.