Nearly A Dozen Baltimore Charter Schools Suing City’s School System

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City schools–hit with a major lawsuit. Nearly a dozen charter schools claim the district is breaking state law when it comes to funding.

Christie Ileto with more on why schools are joining together to sue.

These schools say it’s not just about the dollars, but how the districts come up with how much they’re getting. City schools CEO Gregory Thornton tells WJZ parents shouldn’t panic.

Nine charter schools are suing the city school district. WJZ obtains the lawsuits that allege the school board failed to live up to its obligations for full funding and transparency.

“How do we get the number? And why is it going down when some revenue has gone up?” said Principal Danique Dolly, City Neighbors High.

The law says charters get cash in place of services they don’t receive from the central office–meaning almost $10,000 last year.

Dolly is the principal of City Neighbors High, one of the schools suing, and says the district isn’t explaining why they’re getting fewer dollars.

“Every year we have to do something different with the budget based on what we get. I have to change programs. We have to let some teachers go. Like, those things you don’t want to have to do,” said Dolly.

The suit comes as the school district proposed a new funding formula this week that will give charters money based on the population of students they serve.

“Let’s take a good look at the formula we presented and I think it certainly will speak to something a little different,” said Gregory Thornton, CEO of the Baltimore City school system.

Thornton tells WJZ he hasn’t seen the lawsuit, but stands behind the district’s new funding formula.

Ileto: “What do you say to these parents that are frustrated with this?”

Thornton: “To be patient. Allow us the opportunity to have the conversations. I’m very confident we will work to really bring solutions to their children.”

But critics fear this formula means fewer dollars in the classroom, threatening students’ education.

While only nine schools have filed, Baltimore City Charter Schools says more a dozen other charter schools could be impacted by this new funding formula.

Some of the charter schools listed in this suit are some of the city’s highest performing schools.

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