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Budget Cuts Threaten Advanced Academic Programs At Baltimore City Schools

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Popular programs for city school students may get spared the budget ax after angry criticism from parents and lawmakers.

Derek Valcourt explains the Baltimore City school board is meeting Tuesday night to tackle next year’s budget.

School officials have been slowly pulling back funding on programs for advanced students, as they raise long-term concerns about funding. But sources now tell WJZ the proposed cuts this year may not happen after all.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute is one of four city schools offering the Ingenuity Project, a program that offers more for advanced students who get accepted into a highly accelerated curriculum.

Program graduates are often highly sought after by top caliber universities, including Yale, Princeton and Duke.

That’s part of the attraction for Danyelle Rosebrough, whose ninth-grade daughter is in the program.

“When we pulled her out of private school we were looking for an advanced program. We live in Baltimore City, and we were saying ‘OK, what programs can we put her in where she’s not going to be lost, she’s not going to be bored, and it’s going to still challenge her?’” Rosebrough said.

But as the city school board has struggled with tight finances, school funding for Ingenuity Project has slowly been pared back.

Under the city’s proposed 2015 budget, the decrease would continue and include another popular program for advanced students called the International Baccalaureate.

Those decreases have drawn criticism at recent school board meetings from parents, students and even lawmakers like Delegate Sandy Rosenberg.

“My thought would be short term. This coming school year, level funding, no cuts to these programs for our best performing students but then have a discussion and consider what in the long term is the best way to fund these programs,” Rosenberg said.

Rosebrough worries any cuts to the advanced programs could affect her daughter’s future.

“Would I go back to a private school that would challenge her? Probably so. I probably would try to figure out how else I could get her that rigorous program,” Rosebrough said.

School officials declined to comment for this story. The city school board is expected to vote on the proposed budget at their meeting set to begin at 6 p.m.

The Ingenuity Project serves 530 Baltimore students in grades 6-12.

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