Stimulus a victory, but not for school construction
At last night's Baltimore Education Coalition event (culminating in a riveting sermon by BUILD co-chair Bishop Douglas Miles... wish I could post an audio recording on the blog), organizers vowed to keep working together to keep fighting for the city's schools. Among the reasons that's a good thing: While the stimulus money will help on the operations side for the next two years, the capital budget is still sorely lacking.
Last night's event at Fort Worthington Elementary was focused on the victory of fending off changes to funding formulas that would have disproportionately hurt Baltimore and Prince George's County. But let's not forget: Stimulus money that Gov. O'Malley could have given as direct grants for school construction is instead going to community colleges -- another worthy cause, I know. The stimulus gives school districts the ability to get zero-interest bonding authority, but they'd still need to pay that money back. And as we all know, Baltimore's school buildings need a ton of work.
The Baltimore Education Coalition, which brings more than 30 advocacy groups together, has clearly caught politicians' attention. John Sarbanes was there in the Fort Worthington auditorium, and Barbara Mikulski sent a representative.