Gov. threatens to pull Baltimore County funding

Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 07:51:42-04

Dulaney High School Senior Jonathan Comaromi is coming off the football field sweaty from practice.

"On nice days like this, yes it can get hotter inside than on the football field," said Comaromi.

His classes in the new wing are cool, but when he goes to the largest part of the high school that opened in 1962, it's miserable.

"The warm temperature makes you want to fall asleep in the classroom.  You can't pay attention, as well, which I think really affects your learning, as well," said Comaromi. 

His mom is hot after seeing two kids through the doors.

"Hundreds of kids are going to the nurse's office, whether they feel weak, they feel light-headed, they're passing out," said Denise Comaromi. 

So it's come to a head this school year.

"It was treacherous.  It was extremely hot in a few of the classrooms," said Amy Bevans, a parent. 

It became a focus at the Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis on Wednesday.  We caught up with Gov. Larry Hogan at a cancer benefit at Camden Yards.

"We sent $28 million more to Baltimore County, and the fact that they can't get this air condition situation straight is really unacceptable," said Gov. Hogan.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz defended his work, saying since he took office five years ago, the number of schools without air conditioning has been reduced from 52 percent to 15 percent either by projects completed or fully funded.

Gov. Hogan says more than 50 schools are still hot.  But Kamenetz adds the county upped its state-required match, providing two dollars for every dollar from Annapolis.

"The state can help us achieve the job even faster if they start matching us dollar for dollar," said Kamenetz, who adds air condition is not an isolated improvement.  "You don't want to come into a school and put air conditioning in and tear down walls when at the same time you also could replace pipes and boiler systems and heating systems and electrical needs.” 

"Comptroller Franchot said we can do it the easy way or the hard way.  If we have to cut off funding, if we have to play hardball, we're going to make sure Baltimore County takes the steps that are necessary," said Gov. Hogan. 

Gov. Hogan has called for Kamenetz to come to a Board of Public Works meeting.

Kamenetz stands on the numbers, saying Baltimore County is providing 69 percent of school construction funding while the state is putting up 31 percent.