Baltimore Freedom Academy students and members of the Maryland ACLU were in Washington, D.C., this week to view the work of the students, who took photographs of their run-down city schools for an exhibition called "Through Your Lens." The exhibition, which spotlights the problems of antiquated buildings across the nation, is on display in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. The work can be viewed online as well.
In 2004, a task force studying school facilities found that it would take $4 billion to bring buildings up to minimum adequacy, according to the ACLU. In Baltimore City, the school system said it needed $2.7 billion to modernize all of its schools.
Recently, more money has been designated to school construction, but the ACLU says it is not enough to keep up with the problems.
Baltimore City is not the only one with problems. Parents in Baltimore County have been fighting to get air conditioning installed in several recently renovated middle schools.
The city school system agrees with the students about the need to improve facilities. Edie House, a spokeswoman for the school system, said in an e-mail: "We have documented that we have the oldest and neediest infrastructure in the state. Combined funding from the state and the city this year was less than $50 million. We are thankful for the aid we have received given the current fiscal crisis." She added, however, that the amount of aid is still not enough.