Rejecting the Defendants’ claims that plaintiffs should be barred from proceeding with an adequacy case first filed in 1994, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Aubrey J.S. Carrion denied the state’s motion to dismiss Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education on January 16, 2020. She ruled that although the case has not been actively litigated for the past 15 years, the Court still retained jurisdiction by the terms of the original consent judgment. In doing so, the judge rejected the defendants’ arguments that the suit was now barred by the statute of limitations and by laches.
In March 2019, the ACLU of Maryland and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational, had filed the Bradford petition asking the Circuit Court to revive the 25 year old lawsuit, order the state to provide $290 million in immediate funding increases and develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that all Baltimore City students receive a “thorough and efficient education.” The petition also emphasizes the fact that at least 85% of the city’s school buildings have been rated “very poor” or “poor” and that the system reached a breaking point last winter when the entire system was closed down for a week because its ancient heating systems failed. The school system estimates that it would cost $3 billion to bring their buildings up to minimally acceptable standards through repairs and building replacements and $5 billion to complete a full portfolio replacement to meet modern educational standards.