School building project will transform Baltimore

October 31, 2011

Thanks to Heather Mizeur and Tom Wilcox for their thoughtful commentary about how we can work together to improve Baltimore's public schools ("Big build for city schools," Oct. 26).

Transform Baltimore is a campaign designed not only to modernize and improve crumbling school buildings but to strengthen the connections between schools and the communities around them.

During the 2011 legislative session the Maryland General Assembly passed an increase in the state alcohol tax and a supplemental appropriation that will provide $9 million for school construction and renovation in Baltimore as well as millions more for other jurisdictions.

Though this funding stream is an important start, it is not enough. The alcohol tax money is a one-time infusion of dollars, and we need more.

The Baltimore City Council is doing its part: On next month's general election ballot there is a Baltimore City Charter Amendment question to establish a permanent fund for new school construction.

The initiative recognizes that while city students are showing great improvement, children, teachers and staff deserve safe buildings that provide the best atmosphere in which to learn and grow.

Along with the ACLU-Maryland and the rest of the Transform Baltimore team, I look forward to working with Delegate Mizeur and the rest of our state legislative delegation, and with our local partners in the city to find ways to make this plan a model for the rest of the state.

Mary Washington, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, represents Baltimore City in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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