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City councilman introduces resolution to fix city schools

Zeke Cohen: "It's time to put our kids first"
Posted at 11:47 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 06:43:39-05

Monday, the Baltimore City Council took action to help deal with the schools heating problem.
Governor Larry Hogan and Mayor Catherine Pugh are also promising to get the students back into warm classrooms.

RELATED: Baltimore City School District pledge to open and warm schools

Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced a unanimously adopted resolution calling for student resources when schools are closed.  It also calls for city, state and federal cooperation to fund those schools--85 of which were closed and without heat last week due to historic cold and aging infrastructure.

"It's like what one of my former students asked me once, Mr. Cohen when you send us to school in a place that looks like a prison what do you expect us to become?"

Cohen is now calling more cooperation. 

"Immediate collaboration between city, state and federal partners to fix and maintain all of our school buildings," said Cohen.

Mayor Catherine Pugh knows this, toured failing schools and through frustration is also helping.

"I don't have time to sit around and figure out who's in charge. I'm pulling all agencies, whoever wants to help. The private sector has jumped in," Pugh said.

Governor Hogan pledged $2.5 million dollars towards the repair of the city's aging infrastructure.

"It is great to see folks coming together around this crisis but we have to make sure that we're not just dealing with what happened last week," said Cohen.

But Hogan partially blamed city leaders for the mess citing mismanagement and lack of accountability.

"He should refer to any of the external audits that have been done by reputable auditing firms not by the city, by external firms showing no fiscal mismanagement," Cohen told ABC2. 

Advocates for the city and Cohen's resolution say it's about time. 

"Having everyone all hands on deck, pledges of money, having emergency crews, that's exactly what we need to be seeing right now," said Elizabeth Degi-Mount of Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance. 

ALSO RELATED: State announces emergency funding to heat Baltimore schools

On the heels of this, there's a new policy in place if city schools are closed; the nearest rec center will open from 10-9 so students can get meals.

Governor Hogan says his budget proposal for next year will again provide record education funding.