Ridgely Middle rally update
The warm, sunny weather may have been welcome yesterday, but - as Baltimore County parents repeatedly noted - temperatures in the high 80s and above aren't quite so enjoyable inside a school building.
Dozens of parents gathered in the courtyard between the Circuit Court and county office buildings in Towson, once again calling on the county executive and schools superindent to do something to remedy the sometimes sweltering conditions at Ridgely Middle School.
As I've noted here before, a number of the county's schools don't have air conditioning. And, according to school officials, at least six others - Dumbarton and Old Court Middle, Loch Raven and Southwest academies and Hampton and Johnnycake elementaries - have similar window systems to Ridgely's.
But a couple mothers who surveyed the other schools said they found the situations in those other facilities were not as bad as at the Lutherville school, where half the new windows installed during a renovation a few years ago do not open - or only open a few inches. That basically means the school is sealed up, hindering air flow, several folks said yesterday.
At a school board meeting a few weeks ago, Dr. Hairston warned against making the air-conditioning issue solely about Ridgely and focusing on "something that's just not going to happen right now." He pointed to furloughs, budget cuts and other challenges at the state level that indicate many of the items in the county's capital request won't necessarily get funding.
"It is unfortunate that Ridgely is not air conditioned...but I think it would be unreasonable for this board, or for me as the superintendent, to promise anybody anything," Hairston said, adding that the district has no ability to raise money on its own.
Last week, the board approved a state capital budget request that included installing chillers at Old Court Middle. The board recently had a lengthy discussion confirming that Ridgely is not eligible for state funding because of the recent renovations, and would not be for more than a decade. This means the county would have to come up with the funds.