ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan has signed a measure to allocate $28 million in additional school funding, including $23.7 million for Baltimore City.
Hogan signed the bill on Monday morning at a ceremony with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh standing behind him in Annapolis.
It’s been a hard-fought battle to compromise. The extra money falls short of the nearly $130 million-dollar Baltimore City school deficit.
For weeks, officials warned that without a lifeline, massive layoffs could be inevitable. A scary thought for parents.
“If they lay off teachers, then our kids are not learning and they need an education,” said one parent.
Mayor Pugh says the supplemental budget is a good start.
“While we still have a lot of work to do, this certainly is moving us in the right direction,” she said.
The extra money has some strings attached. Baltimore schools must submit to a comprehensive audit of their finances.
Governor Hogan previously told WJZ, the school system needs fiscal accountability.
“They can’t just keep saying ‘give us more money, give us more money, but we’re not going to fix the problem,'” he said.
The belt-tigtening has already begun.
“We are scrubbing our operations. We are looking in depth about how we can make efficiencies,” said Dr. Sonja Santelises, Baltimore City Schools CEO.
Santelises says she’s considering combining some schools to save money.
School officials say they found a way to shave-off $30 million from their operating costs.
The money goes to Baltimore City and 10 Maryland counties that have lost funding in the state’s school funding formula due to declining enrollment.
The measure contains new accountability measures, including an independent audit of the Baltimore school system and requirements for the school board to develop a financial recovery plan.
The 10 counties receiving additional funding are Allegany, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Garrett, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset and Talbot counties.
After Baltimore City, Carroll County received the next highest amount at $1.6 million.