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Franchot Petitions for 'Cool Classrooms'

Comptroller's petition drive seeks to highlight need for air conditioning in Baltimore County Public Schools.

The lack of air conditioning in Baltimore County Public Schools continues to get Comptroller Peter Franchot hot under the collar.

The comptroller, who has made an issue of the lack of air conditioning in Baltimore County Schools, is expected Thursday to roll out a petition drive to gin up the issue.

"This is a new effort the comptroller is undertaking to bring the people to the bureaucrats in Baltimore County," said Joseph Shapiro, a spokesman for Franchot.

As part of the effort, Franchot is rolling out a new section of his website to collect electronic signatures. The logo for the Cool Classrooms campaign includes a silhouette of Baltimore County.

"This is about the students and teachers and parents who use these classrooms," said Shapiro. "It's not about any elected official in Annapolis or Baltimore County."

Franchot decided on the petition drive after repeatedly hearing the frustrations of parents of students who attend county schools that are not air conditioned.

"They're being told that (air conditioning) is a goal and 20 years from now we'll be there," said Shapiro. "(The parents) don't want to wait. Their children are in those classrooms now."

Last October, a group of parents from Middleborough Elementary School came to a Board of Public Works meeting to press for money for window units in classrooms at the school.

before Franchot and the board as part of the annual process for requesting school construction and renovation funding commonly known as "Beg-A-Thon."

The petition drive will be similar to that of Franchot's financial literacy petition drive. A link on the comptroller's website will take visitors to a place where they can sign on electronically.

The signatures will be delivered to the new schools superintendent, Shapiro said.

The county estimates it would cost as much as $450 million to install central air conditioning in schools that do not have it.

Don Mohler, a county spokesman and chief of staff to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, said in an interview early Wednesday that the county is working to install air conditioning in schools as part of the renovation process.

The county hopes to add units to four schools—including the new Dundalk and Sollers Point High Schools—this year.

"That's in addition to the 10 we did last year," said Mohler.

"That means there's 14 more schools with air conditioning than when this county executive was elected. That's really significant. This is an important issue and we have to address it in a responsible way."

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Debbie Calimer March 22, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Baltimore County is only second from the last county in MD (Garrett County is first) that has the least amount of schools fully air conditioned! That means Baltimore City has more schools than us FULLY air conditioned. I wonder if that stat from Kamenetz's office (14 school air conditioned since he started) is for school FULLY air conditioned or just part of the school, which is the situation in my childrens' elementary school...they always add AC when they put additions on schools, like the "new" Dundalk and Sollers Point HS. I attended Balt. County Public Schools starting 40 years ago and there hasn't been much progress in all of those years...give me a break...you mean they could never come up with enough $ to do this! It is sooo unprofessional for teachers and causes avoidable school closings..unlike snow days!!!
Tim March 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I'm likely going to vote for him, based solely on this. Depending on what the Republican candidate has to say on the matter/provide solutions. Neither party is any good right now, but I want what's best for our kids.
Tim March 22, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I actually believe Baltimore City is behind Baltimore County as well by a little bit. I looked up the statistics a few months ago, before the PHIA had Kamenetz in to speak for us. Either way, we're on the same page in demanding that this change, ASAP.
Cathy Fialkowski March 22, 2012 at 02:03 PM
But, it seems Rawlings-Blake is on it and is trying to put AC in her schools. Kamanetz and the BCPS refuse. They infuriate me beyond belief!
Melisa Riffle April 18, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Not sure first blog went thru Little brother, lets try this again. www.Melisarif824@hotmail.com.

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