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Keeping tabs on the City Council's activities so you don't have to

By Kate Leventhal | Posted 11/29/2006

On the Agenda Nov. 20

Resolution 06-0234R--Facility Solutions--Our Children Deserve a Better Plan

Public Interest Grade: A

A resolution calling for a moratorium on the closure of city schools under the Baltimore City Public School System's facility solutions program, which requires that the system downsize its "schoolhouse inventory" over the course of three years in order to keep its capital funding provided by the state.

The process of closing low-performing public schools has already shuffled more than 4,000 kids and cost the system more than $30 million (an amount that will presumably be balanced over time as the system saves money it would have otherwise spent to operate the now-shuttered schools), as 25 schools had to make accommodations for new students and activities. Before more kids are moved and more money is spent, the resolution asks the state to give the city school board more time to come up with a better plan for downsizing the facilities.

Resolution 06-0236R--Baltimore City Council Task Force to Secure the Integrity of Baltimore City Elections

Public Interest Grade: A

Suggests forming a task force to ensure the validity of the 2007 (and future) elections by evaluating polling-place accessibility, geographic placement, and availability throughout the city.

We're all for this. Maybe the end result will be safer polling places, more options for disabled voters, more user-friendly ballots, and, for pete's sake, election judges who are properly trained to do their jobs. This may cost some extra clams, but the right to vote never did come cheap.

City Council Quote of the Week

"We've experienced one of the worst election seasons probably as far back as I can remember." --City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton (D-8th District), referring to the bungled mess at city polling places during the 2006 elections.

City Council Fact of the Week

Next year (2007) will be the first time Baltimore City officially commemorates Veterans Day.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. To view the City Council's meeting schedule visit www.baltimorecitycouncil.com.

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