Education Coalition fought to keep health centers opens

We would like to thank the Baltimore Sun for covering the issue of the proposed cuts to school based health centers ("Student resources once on the chopping block to be fully funded, school officials say," July 7, 2010).

When the Baltimore Education Coalition learned that potentially seven school based health centers were proposed to close, we took action and contacted the mayor and our city council representatives.

We shared our concern about the impact to the health and safety of the thousands of children that would have lost access to their current primary health providers. Knowing that access to health care is critical to the success of students in school, we petitioned our government, made calls, sent e-mails and letters and testified at Taxpayer's Night supporting keeping them open and finding the revenue to do so.

City Springs was without a doubt one of our most vibrant partners and independent advocates. What is so amazing about this effort is they not only advocated that their own health center stay open, they also partnered with other schools and organizations such as KIPP Ujima Village Academy, Baltimore Freedom Academy, BUILD, Greater Homewood Community Corporation, Child First Authority, the ACLU of Maryland, School Social Workers in Maryland, Connect2Protect, and many more to advocate that all thirteen of the school based health centers stay open.

The win for children in Baltimore, maintaining access to comprehensive health services, was not the result of one person or group. The collective effort of many schools and organizations and the willingness of an independent paper like The Sun for reporting on the issue made the public and elected officials aware of the problems posed by cutting the health centers. Together we fervently fought for the necessity of health centers and together we won!

Sue Fothergill, Co-chair, City Neighbors Charter School

Shannen Coleman, Co-chair, Child First Authority

The Baltimore Education Coalition

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