BSA Students Stage Walk-out Over Loss Of Funding

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dozens of students at Baltimore School for the Arts took the street on Monday, demanding answers, and showing their frustration with the shrinking funds for schools.

“We want to get our word out there that our education matters,” says student Zach Aldouby.

The passionate group walked out of the Baltimore School for the Arts, and marched to the City Schools headquarters to get face-to-face with school officials.

“We’re asking you a simple question and you’re not answering,” says one student.

Students tell WJZ, the school’s only librarian and a math teacher will not be returning in the fall.

“That means it’s just another space in our school not being used to its fullest capacity,” says student Anaiah Solomon.

“It just horrifies me because she is such a resource to us,” says Elizabeth Sacktor.

The city school system is trying to fill its whopping $130 million budget gap. The $23 million dollars in additional state funds are not enough to cover the deficit.

School officials told the students gathered here, that funding is based on enrollment. So as the number of Baltimore City students has declined, so has the money.

“The lack of resources gets passed on to all of us,” says Chief of Schools, Andre Cowling.

The School’s famous alumni includes actor Josh Charles, who recently tweeted his support for the school.

Now, this budding actor is worried he won’t have the same shot at success.

“We want to be in school. We want our education. I want to make it out of here,” says Sekai Watkins.

City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises sent WJZ a statement on the students’ protests:

“Baltimore School for the Arts students’ passion for their school is clear, and I continue to be energized by our students’ powerful voices as advocates for the education they deserve.

As a result of their advocacy and that of the entire City Schools community, the district has received $60 million in additional resources for the coming school year. This means that most of the cuts that our schools faced have been reversed and, while some layoffs will still occur, there will be far fewer than originally anticipated.

While BSA students rightfully are concerned about the loss of staff positions, it’s important to note that these are decisions made at the school level.”

Last year, Baltimore School for the Arts received a $3 million dollar gift from a philanthropist, but that money is being used for the new film and visual storytelling program.

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