This morning, Mayor Catherine Pugh, City Council President Jack Young, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, and City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises joined Baltimore City students, residents, and education advocates to celebrate the opening of Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School, the first of several schools to be modernized, rebuilt, or constructed as part of the 21st Century School Buildings Program.
With help from OSI planning and implementation grants, the ACLU of Maryland worked tirelessly for years – along with Baltimore Education Coalition (another OSI-Baltimore grantee), BUILD, Strong City Baltimore and many other groups – advocating on behalf of Baltimore City public school children, whose aging school facilities had been badly in need of renovation for decades.
The ACLU, BEC and other partners launched the “Transform Baltimore: Build Schools, Build Neighborhoods” campaign, petitioned elected officials, rallied the community and, in 2013, won an historic $1 billion school construction bill in Annapolis. Fort Worthington, in east Baltimore’s Berea community is the first school to be completed. Frederick Elementary School, near Carroll Park in southwest Baltimore, will open this weekend, and seven other school buildings are under construction or in the planning stages. Ultimately, as a result of community advocacy, the city will build 28 new schools and renovate over 100 schools that are in very poor condition.
At this morning’s ribbon–cutting, advocates, elected officials, community leaders and residents came to celebrate the opening of the spacious, light-filled building.