Mayoral candidate David Warnock on Thursday pledged to devote more than $20 million during in his first term to start more than 100 new community schools, which would create neighborhoods hubs with afterschool programs, health and social services and more.
Citing his experience as co-founder of the Green Street Academy charter school, Warnock also called for a partially elected school board, individualized student education plans, creation of training academies for teachers and principals, online credit recovery, dual degree programs with community colleges, and expansion of Judy Centers, which offer early childhood education programs and family support.
"Education creates opportunity, education creates jobs and jobs are the foundation of dignity and respect," he said. "Read our education policies … They are born from experience, born from love for our kids, and born from love for this great city."
In recent months, Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Gregory Thornton has faced calls for his resignation, with critics saying he lacks clear goals for the district.
Warnock said Baltimore needs a mayor who outlines a vision for the school system and charged previous mayors with dodging that responsibility. He said he would review Thornton's tenure, but stopped short of saying he needed to go.
"We have to evaluate everyone in every position … I think the man's working hard and I think he came into a really difficult situation," he said. "I owe him the respect to sit down with him."
Warnock is one of 13 Democrats running for mayor in the April 26 primary.
He is a founder of the Camden Partners venture capital firm and the Green Street Academy charter school. The middle and high school in West Baltimore, which opened in 2010, now serves more than 600 students and received hundreds more applications than available slots this year.
Warnock said he would find money for his plans by rallying nonprofit organizations and other private donors, as well as conducting audits of the city's finances. He said he wanted to see city students match or exceed state averages on standardized tests.
"For too long we've had mayors who brush off accountability for the school system," he said. "As your next mayor, I will be accountable and responsible for the academic outcomes of our kids."