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Baltimore Co. Parents Offer To Pay For School's Air Conditioning; Officials Say No

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- A generous offer from some Baltimore County parents is rejected by school leaders. They offered to pay for air conditioning at their child's school.

Gigi Barnett reports one state lawmaker is backing parents.

"We're tired of saying pretty please. We're now going to dynamite the bureaucracy out of the way," said State Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Franchot says he's at a boiling point over a $70 million request from Baltimore County school leaders last week. On Wednesday, the school board asked the state to pay for air conditioning at some schools, after turning down an offer from parents at Middleborough Elementary in Essex to buy a few AC window units.

"Some little third-grader said, 'I put my head on my arm on my desk and I fall asleep, I'm so hot.' Come on, Baltimore County," Franchot said.

Now Franchot has launched an online petition on his website for parents who want to urge the school board to cool the classrooms. In a statement, Baltimore County School spokesman Charles Herndon said, "The district considered the offer...but the individual units would cost more in the long run. We look at solutions that will last the system a long time. It was just not advantageous for the school system."

"Baloney. All of these classrooms can be air conditioned overnight," Franchot said.

Franchot says he fears hot classrooms will become a safety hazard for students.

"Get in there and put window units in these classrooms. Every classroom in Baltimore County should be air conditioned by April," he said.

Baltimore County school leaders confirm that all of their schools have some air conditioning but nearly 100 schools do not have full air conditioning throughout the building.

School districts around the state made their annual request for construction funds last week. Every year, state and local school leaders spend up to $1 billion combined on construction.

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