The campaign to Transform Baltimore calls upon elected officials and decision-makers at city, state, and federal levels to adopt and implement a funding plan to renovate and modernize all public school buildings in Baltimore City within eight years.
Our political leaders must adopt proven alternative financing methods to address the $2.4 billion needed to modernize every city school building. Here's what we propose:
☑ Secure General Assembly approval for a State Block Grant of school construction funds.
Done. Our Transform Baltimore campaign has reached a major milestone! With the Maryland General Assembly's passage of HB 860 -The Baltimore City Public Schools Construction and Revitalization Act of 2013- the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore agree to an annual Block Grant of $20 million each, along with $20 million from Baltimore City Schools, to fund Phase I of a comprehensive school renovation and renewal program.
☑ Leverage annual construction funds for long-term borrowing.
Done. The Block Grant funding from the City, the State and Baltimore City Public Schools will make it possible to raise and estimated $900 million - $1 billion to renovate schools now, and repay the money over the next 30 years. The funding being leveraged in the innovative financing plan include new funding streams; essential annual school construction funding from the city and state continue in separate streams.
☑ Increase funding for City School Construction.
In Process. To give our children the healthy, 21st Century school buildings they deserve, the Transform Baltimore campaign has argued for a larger investment from the City and State. With our strong support, the City of Baltimore increased its investment by passing a 5-cent beverage container tax whose proceeds are dedicated to school construction and by dedicating revenue to be generated by expanded gaming. Passage of HB 860 increases the State's commitment by $20 million/year. While these funds are not yet sufficient to finance the full $2.4 billion need, they signal a significant commitment which, when leveraged, will launch Phase I of the plan.
Ensure the nearly $1 billion to be financed for the 21st Century School Construction Program is spent in a fiscally responsible and cost-effective way to achieve the best outcome for the students of Baltimore
All Baltimore City Students deserve to learn in safe, healthy and inspiring environments. Phase I funding should provide new schools/full renovations for approximately one-third of the buildings, addressing many of the buildings in the worst condition. Transform Baltimore is committed to ensuring that the $1 billion public investment is spent in a way that will maximize the number of high quality and innovative schools for our children.
Ensure that the process for the 21st Century School Construction program is open and transparent, with regular public progress reports and Q&A sessions.
Diligent public scrutiny is the best way to ensure that the community's voice is being heard in the design and development of new schools and academic programming, and that these new schools will be delivered on time and on budget. Transform Baltimore will work to ensure that the policy- and decision-making process is open and transparent and that decision documents and timelines are published and available for public inspection.
Ensure that Baltimore City residents, businesses and organizations serving the community are engaged in the school design process.
Transform Baltimore believes that schools can be anchors of a community; the building should reflect not only the vision and ideals for the 21st Century academic programming, but also those of the people who live and work around the school so that the building can serve the community year-round.
Collaborate with community revitalization advocates to coordinate public and private investment with the school construction program for the best community outcomes which, in turn, increase community support for schools.
The nearly $1 billion school construction program is the equivalent of a micro-stimulus program for many Baltimore City neighborhoods. The Transform Baltimore campaign believes that by leveraging this unprecedented investment with those of businesses and nonprofits, and working with the City to implement long-standing neighborhood development plans, entire communities can be transformed. Stronger, more vibrant communities mean more opportunities for students and parents and stronger support for the school and its programs.
Maximize employment and construction training opportunities for City residents and BCPS students.
The 21st Century School Construction Program will create thousands of jobs in construction and supporting industries. Transform Baltimore will work with BCPS and the Maryland Stadium Authority to created opportunities to put Baltimore City residents to work. Part of that commitment is working with communities and workforce development organizations to make sure that Baltimore City residents have the tools and training they need to sevure jobs rebuilding our schools and neighborhoods.
Develop a comprehensive financing plan to ensure that 21st Century Buildings are provided in every Baltimore City neighborhood.
Transform Baltimore continues to call on elected officials at the local, state and federal level to work together to find funding strategies to ensure that all the school buildings attended by Baltimore City children are healthy, safe and modern. These strategies include maintaining the current levels of annual Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding from the State -which addresses critical building repairs and renovations- and identifying new revenues to fund Phase II so that all Baltimore students attend school in 21st Century buildings.