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Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Old 01-04-18, 06:58 PM
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Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

NPR just published this article about how students at Baltimore’s public schools are freezing because the classrooms do not have any heat.

Two politicians both said that the city’s public schools did not have enough money.

But like all people who claim that public schools do not have enough money, neither one of them actually said how much they spent per student per year.

So I looked it up at wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltim...Public_Schools

Baltimore City Public Schools

Budget $1.32 billion

Students 84,730

That works out to $15,578 per student per year.

So, the Baltimore public schools actually have plenty of money.

It’s just that the government bureaucrats who run the schools, have chosen not to provide heat for the students.

I can only guess as to how the government bureaucrats have chosen to waste the money that should have gone to heating the classrooms. It's too bad that NPR didn't do its job and find out where this money is actually going.


https://www.npr.org/2018/01/03/57533...gid-classrooms

Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

January 3, 2018

Baltimore's public schools closed Thursday after parents and educators there complained students were enduring frigid classrooms with plumbing issues — conditions the local teachers union called "inhumane." Four of Baltimore's public schools were closed Wednesday because of facilities problems but the rest had remained open through below freezing temperatures. Some schools hovered around 40 degrees inside.

Nikki Massie's 16-year-old daughter goes to Baltimore City College High School — a public magnet school. It's one of that state's highest-performing high schools.

"She actually said she couldn't feel her feet at one point," she said. "I texted her back and said are you joking? She says — no."

Massie said her daughter has been in the building when it was cold before, but that this week felt worse to her. "I told her to tough it out and get home as fast as she could," she said.

At Frederick Douglass High School, senior Dennis Morgan said Wednesday he was freezing. "As of now, I have on four shirts, two hoodies, and a jacket," he said. "It's kind hard to get comfortable when you've got so many layers on and you're not used to it and you're still cold."
He said teachers are sharing their scarves with students. A burst pipe and fallen ceiling tiles destroyed numerous MacBooks and technology equipment at that school. Students there were dismissed early on Wednesday.

On social media, teachers and parents posted photos of students wearing winter coats inside and thermostats displaying temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

In a letter to the BCPS president Wednesday afternoon, the Baltimore Teachers Union called school conditions "unfair" and "inhumane" and implored officials to close schools for the remainder of the week. The organization said it had received "several" calls citing lack of heat.

In a statement, Baltimore Public Schools said buildings had been monitored for heating or plumbing issues during the holiday break and that "numerous problems" had been identified and resolved then. "Unfortunately, with the extreme temperatures, new problems can emerge quickly," the statement continues. "Our priority is always to open buildings whenever possible. We want students to have every possible opportunity for teaching and learning, and we also want to make sure that students can get the services and supports that many families rely on — for example, warm meals and before- and after-school care."

BCPS also said it relies on principals to relocate or combine classes when parts of a school have heating or plumbing problems and that "only when problems affect large portions or all of a building do we make the decision to close the school. This occurred with the schools that were closed today."

City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises reiterated on Wednesday on Facebook Live that the operations team worked through the holiday break. "We had some schools that were colder yesterday but were warmer today," she said. "The challenge was we had new schools today that were facing heating challenges."

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she has no say in whether schools are closed, citing a 1997 deal that gave the state oversight of the city's public schools.

Other local political leaders responded on social media about the condition of the schools. Some pointed out that the schools have had long-standing heating, plumbing and repair needs. State Sen. Bill Ferguson blamed Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for not adequately funding public schools:

"Governor Hogan suggests enough money has gone to Baltimore City, additional resources not needed."

Gov. Larry Hogan said the city's public schools had received "record funding for three years," WBAL reported.

Calling the conditions "unacceptable," Councilman Zeke Cohen said he would "fight until my last breath for our schools to get the funding they deserve."

"Today I stood in front of one of the schools in our District where children attempted to learn in freezing classrooms. This is unacceptable. I will fight until my last breath for our schools to get the funding they deserve. Baltimore, we need to do better."

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Old 01-04-18, 07:23 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

FEMA quickly responds by sending emergency supplies of clothing:

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Old 01-04-18, 08:04 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Not sure if you live in Baltimore and that's why there's cause for concern, grundle, or if it's something else, but the administration is spending most of the money, naturally, on teacher contracts.

If you're really interested, here's the in-depth details:
http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/budget
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Old 01-04-18, 08:17 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

I looked at those budget docs.

There's a shockingly large amount of money going toward the Administration and Mid-level administration categories.

Hmmm...
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Old 01-04-18, 08:32 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike View Post

There's a shockingly large amount of money going toward the Administration and Mid-level administration categories.

Hmmm...
Yeah, that's a huge surprise.
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Old 01-04-18, 08:36 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike View Post
I looked at those budget docs.

There's a shockingly large amount of money going toward the Administration and Mid-level administration categories.

Hmmm...
You know they have to take those extravagant vacations.

It's not greed or corruption oh no...

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Old 01-04-18, 09:25 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike View Post
I looked at those budget docs.

There's a shockingly large amount of money going toward the Administration and Mid-level administration categories.

Hmmm...
Speaking as a public school teacher, that's a huge problem in numerous districts. Our district promoted and gave all the admin raises, and then immediately started budget cuts across the board for everyone else and cutting various subjects such as art and library. WAY too many office jobs filled with people collecting 6 figures doing NOTHING.
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Old 01-04-18, 09:29 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
Speaking as a public school teacher, that's a huge problem in numerous districts. Our district promoted and gave all the admin raises, and then immediately started budget cuts across the board for everyone else and cutting various subjects such as art and library. WAY too many office jobs filled with people collecting 6 figures doing NOTHING.
They aren't doing 'nothing'! They're doing things like actively ignoring/covering-up unsafe drinking water with high levels of lead. Portland Public Schools represent!

What's a few brain-damaged kids when you can afford an over-priced house?
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Old 01-04-18, 10:25 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Remember when kvrdave got himself elected his local school board? He intended to deal with the administrative overhead and to put the money in classrooms instead. A year later he explained why it couldn't be cut. It turned out that there wasn't a simple solution. What a surprise!
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Old 01-04-18, 11:03 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
Remember when kvrdave got himself elected his local school board? He intended to deal with the administrative overhead and to put the money in classrooms instead. A year later he explained why it couldn't be cut. It turned out that there wasn't a simple solution. What a surprise!
Duly noted, but with anger. Lack of 'simple solution' does not equal 'can't be done'.
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Old 01-04-18, 11:06 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by Kurtie Dee View Post
They aren't doing 'nothing'! They're doing things like actively ignoring/covering-up unsafe drinking water with high levels of lead. Portland Public Schools represent!

What's a few brain-damaged kids when you can afford an over-priced house?
Trust me, ours are doing nothing. One of them walked into my classroom in the middle of the day and asked me how many kids I have in my class this year, information that would have taken one key stroke from her downtown office.
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Old 01-04-18, 11:08 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
Trust me, ours are doing nothing. One of them walked into my classroom in the middle of the day and asked me how many kids I have in my class this year, information that would have taken one key stroke from her downtown office.
No offense, but I was being sarcastic. It should have been obvious by the example of covering up poisoning students.
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Old 01-04-18, 11:11 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Part of the problem is that there is a lot of bureaucracy that comes with dealing with the various state and federal programs. I'm not saying all administration is necessary or that everyone is doing a stellar job, just like I wouldn't say that every single teacher is necessary or doing a stellar job, despite both sides swearing that the other side is the problem. But it is more complicated than "just fire all the administrators, they do nothing and we could spend that money on the kids, don't you like kids?"
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Old 01-05-18, 12:55 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Not sure if you live in Baltimore and that's why there's cause for concern, grundle, or if it's something else, but the administration is spending most of the money, naturally, on teacher contracts.

If you're really interested, here's the in-depth details:
http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/budget
I live in Pittsburgh. I just find it interesting when people automatically assume that public schools are "underfunded" without knowing how much they are actually spending.

If "most" (i.e., at least 51%) of the money is being spent on teacher contracts, then how much is the average teacher being paid?

If there are 20 students for each teacher, and at least 51% of the $15,578 spending per student is being spent on teacher contracts, then that means that the average teacher receives at least $158,895 in annual pay and benefits.

If there are 30 students per teacher, and at least 51% of the $15,578 spending per student is being spent on teacher contracts, then that means that the average teacher receives at least $238,343 in annual pay and benefits.

And what do students get for these apparent six figure teacher salaries?


http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/11...th-study-shows

Alarming number of Baltimore high schools had zero students proficient in math, study shows

November 9, 2017

A new project that analyzed 2017 state testing data found that one-third of Baltimore, Maryland, high schools have zero students proficient in math.

What are the numbers?

Project Baltimore found that 13 out of 39 high schools in the city had zero students that were proficient in math, according to the testing data. Another six schools only had 1 percent of their student body who tested proficient in math.

In plain numbers, in half the high schools in Baltimore, out of the 3,804 students who took the state test, a mere 14 were proficient in math.

What’s worse, in 2016, six Baltimore schools had zero students test proficient in any state test, which included math and English.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again: education majors have the lowest average SAT scores of any college major. We should abolish the education major. Instead of hiring teachers with the lowest SAT scores, we should hire teachers with the highest SAT scores. Certainly, if public schools are paying the apparent six figure salaries that your own claim and my data suggests, they should have no trouble attracting such intelligent people.

As it stands right now, 35% of Baltimore public school teachers send their own children to private schools. If my proposal was adopted, the Baltimore public schools would become so excellent that that percentage would fall to appoximately zero.

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Old 01-05-18, 01:06 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
Speaking as a public school teacher, that's a huge problem in numerous districts. Our district promoted and gave all the admin raises, and then immediately started budget cuts across the board for everyone else and cutting various subjects such as art and library. WAY too many office jobs filled with people collecting 6 figures doing NOTHING.

That totally sucks.

Art and library, as well as music, are extremely important to the intellectual development of students.

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Old 01-05-18, 01:12 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Part of the problem is that there is a lot of bureaucracy that comes with dealing with the various state and federal programs. I'm not saying all administration is necessary or that everyone is doing a stellar job, just like I wouldn't say that every single teacher is necessary or doing a stellar job, despite both sides swearing that the other side is the problem. But it is more complicated than "just fire all the administrators, they do nothing and we could spend that money on the kids, don't you like kids?"

Since the Department of Education was created, there has been a huge increase in bureaucracy, but zero improvement in academic performance. It seems to me that the public schools would actually improve if the Department of Education was abolished.
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Old 01-05-18, 01:22 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
Trust me, ours are doing nothing. One of them walked into my classroom in the middle of the day and asked me how many kids I have in my class this year, information that would have taken one key stroke from her downtown office.

That reminds me - I need to go visit the local public library to ask the librarian what the capital of Australia is.
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Old 01-05-18, 01:40 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

You got some pretty circular math going there, Grundle. You calculated the $15,578/student, and immediately started using it as a constant when it's actually a variable. The schools have a budget, and that does not change when more or less students are enrolled at the school. You think if Mary Jane Rottencrotch gets pregnant and drops out, that the budget is lessened? Or course it isn't. But if you then calculated the dollars spent/student ratio, the number would ever so slightly increase due to there now being fewer students. This is an important concept, because the $/student number is always brought up by "voucher" activists. Except that schools HAVE to have a certain amount of cash to stay open regardless of how many students are there.

There's a cost to keeping the lights on, keeping the heat on (except in Baltimore, apparently), paying the teachers, paying Groundskeeper Willie and Lunch Lady Doris, etc. THAT is the constant. The students attending is a variable, therefore so is the $/student number. And you can always find a case where that number is going to be exorbitantly high even if the student performance is sub par. This is what the voucher activists do.

As for Baltimore, if they're unable to keep the heat on, then yeah there's gotta be an audit done. And I believe those who say that it's more than likely administrators doing nothing that is the biggest money suck. Not the teachers.
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Old 01-05-18, 07:49 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

You'd think the parents, or teacher's union, would try and get a court order to have the heat turned on.
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Old 01-05-18, 08:53 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Growing up in MD I remember the city schools closing in the early 90's for the same exact reason (as well as too hot in the classes). They haven't gotten around to replacing the HVAC systems in these schools in the last 30 years?
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Old 01-05-18, 12:41 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
Speaking as a public school teacher, that's a huge problem in numerous districts. Our district promoted and gave all the admin raises, and then immediately started budget cuts across the board for everyone else and cutting various subjects such as art and library. WAY too many office jobs filled with people collecting 6 figures doing NOTHING.
Pretty much, THIS. Seen it. Even heard it being validated by a group of school superintendents in Oregon. They laughed/giggled. Paraphrasing...they didn't care who heard them (it was a favored restaurant). They said they'd retire by the time anyone got smart.

Like any large government agency, there needs to be serious auditing, down to the singular level. But as we know, the chances of that happening are pretty small.
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Old 01-05-18, 01:09 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
Remember when kvrdave got himself elected his local school board? He intended to deal with the administrative overhead and to put the money in classrooms instead. A year later he explained why it couldn't be cut. It turned out that there wasn't a simple solution. What a surprise!
Never saw that thread, is it still on the forum?
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Old 01-05-18, 03:54 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
Never saw that thread, is it still on the forum?
It's floating around somewhere on the Deep Web.


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Old 01-05-18, 05:52 PM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

Originally Posted by Paff View Post
You got some pretty circular math going there, Grundle. You calculated the $15,578/student, and immediately started using it as a constant when it's actually a variable. The schools have a budget, and that does not change when more or less students are enrolled at the school. You think if Mary Jane Rottencrotch gets pregnant and drops out, that the budget is lessened? Or course it isn't. But if you then calculated the dollars spent/student ratio, the number would ever so slightly increase due to there now being fewer students. This is an important concept, because the $/student number is always brought up by "voucher" activists. Except that schools HAVE to have a certain amount of cash to stay open regardless of how many students are there.

There's a cost to keeping the lights on, keeping the heat on (except in Baltimore, apparently), paying the teachers, paying Groundskeeper Willie and Lunch Lady Doris, etc. THAT is the constant. The students attending is a variable, therefore so is the $/student number. And you can always find a case where that number is going to be exorbitantly high even if the student performance is sub par. This is what the voucher activists do.

As for Baltimore, if they're unable to keep the heat on, then yeah there's gotta be an audit done. And I believe those who say that it's more than likely administrators doing nothing that is the biggest money suck. Not the teachers.

I agree with your basic point. But I would also add that if and when the student population falls a significant amount, schools can be closed, and jobs can be eliminated. So the cost per student would tend to remain about the same.
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Old 03-07-18, 07:53 AM
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Re: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Baltimore schools couldn't heat classrooms this winter, but the city can come up with $100,000 to bus students to D.C. and protest for more gun control laws. <a href="https://t.co/mRc7DSZoKv">https://t.co/mRc7DSZoKv</a></p>&mdash; Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) <a href="https://twitter.com/CamEdwards/status/971133343969538049?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 6, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


...and Baltimore schools recently had a $130 Million budget deficit
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