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School For The Arts Hopes Alumni Can Help With Possible Program Cuts

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With a $130 million budget gap looming over Baltimore City Schools, the biggest programs at the Baltimore School for the Arts are on the chopping block.

Now Baltimore’s own Josh Charles is shining a spotlight on the issue.

The Baltimore School for the Arts has a list of notable alumni, including: Tupac, Jada Pinkett Smith, and of course, Josh Charles — and they’re worried their flagship programs could be on the chopping block.

Programs at the Baltimore School for the Arts are in danger because of city schools’ $130 million budget gap.

“We wouldn’t look the same at all. The arts programs would suffer massive changes, ” said Chris Ford, director of Baltimore School for the Arts.

Director Ford is hoping big name alumni could put the issue in the spotlight.

Baltimore-native Josh Charles, famous for his role in “The Good Wife,” tweeted about the issue seven times, including, “I’m a proud product of Baltimore School for the Arts and Baltimore City Schools.”

“Art is kind of, that’s my thing,” said junior Sequoia Joseph. “That’s what I’ve been doing pretty much forever.”

Joseph also hopes to make a career in the arts, but the deficit would mean paring 90 arts teachers down to just 15.

If forced to gut the part-time staff that teach dance, acting, and visual arts, students would go from four hours of arts training per day, to just one.

“It would just be like any other high school,” said Ifetayo Kitwala. “And that’s not what we are. We’re a special, special place.”

Parents, teachers, and students have rallied in support of school funding for all schools.

Mayor Catherine Pugh recently announced a partial funding plan that could help, but still not enough to fully fund next year.

“What I said to our finance department was that I was looking under every nook and cranny that we could find to provide support for our school system,” said Pugh.

The Baltimore School for the Arts is hoping lawmakers or the governor will intervene before the close of the legislative session on April 10.

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