Boiler troubles, and potential relief, at Poly/Western
The Poly/Western complex is closed for the second consecutive day today for lack of heat. Two of the four boilers in the building are dead (and have been for some time). Of the two remaining, the smaller one is working but on its own doesn't provide much heat. Keith Scroggins, the school system's chief operating officer, explains that the larger boiler had "a failure of the air compressor that supplies and moves oil." A new part was needed to complete the repair. The good news is, the part is en route and once received, heat should be restored within a few hours. The schools should be fine to open tomorrow.
The system has applied to the state for $2 million to replace all four boilers and, because it has made the request a top priority, it will likely be granted. But this is the reason that officials needed the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women to open in Western, so its enrollment numbers will be high enough to qualify for the state money. The state's funding decisions will come down in April.
On a related note: Everyone in the education world is scrambling this week to understand what the federal stimulus will mean for schools in practical terms. While there had been talk about how the stimulus did not include direct money for school construction and repairs, I learned yesterday that it does contain more than $20 billion in zero-interest school construction bonds. So Baltimore should benefit, but it's too soon to say how much.