Even so, Baltimore City officials didn't just show up in Annapolis one day, hat in hand. Their proposal was the product of years of work by education activists and, eventually, then-schools CEO Andrés Alonso and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Mr. Alonso accompanied his request with a controversial plan to close dozens of schools and realign the district's facilities to meet its current and future needs. Ms. Rawlings-Blake came forward with a plan to dedicate a portion of Baltimore's future casino funds to school construction, and despite the fact that city residents already struggle under a much higher tax burden than the residents of Montgomery, Prince George's and Baltimore counties, she pushed through the City Council a new beverage container tax to provide additional funding. The city school district is dedicating a portion of its budget to the project, too. The state may be kicking in $20 million a year, but it's a minority partner in this venture.