BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Public Schools announced a new budget for the 2017-2018 school year budget and it may include the end of up to 300 staff positions.
Despite efforts to supplement a nearly $130 million dollar deficit, the City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises says there will be less than 300 layoffs to staff with fewer than 75 classroom teachers in core content areas being affected.
“We released a budget that does not have a deficit for FY18. so we have closed the gap, we’ll have to do in part by making cuts we don’t want to make, but it far far better,” says Dr. Santelises
Governor Larry Hogan announced in March that the state would be giving $23 million dollars of funding for Baltimore City Public Schools to help with the budget deficit.
Dr. Santelises said in a statement released on Friday “Despite all our efforts, cuts were highly likely this year, but because of your advocacy for additional resources, they are at a much lower level than 1,000 or more we had originally anticipated.”
In a statement, Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh said:
“Baltimore City Public Schools is facing the largest budget gap in its history. There are, however, far more teachers who will remain employed than projected because of the collaboration among Dr. Santelesis, Governor Hogan and I to mitigate the impact of the structural deficit through increased City and State funding to our public schools. With the guidance of the Kirwan Commission we will continue to do more. That doesn’t make the proposed layoffs any less difficult, because these are real people and families. Funding quality education in Baltimore is a priority that we all share, and I remain confident in Dr. Santelesis and Chairman Cooper as they work to strengthen the financial status of our public schools.”
Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English also responded to the announcement:
“The Baltimore Teachers Union is relieved to hear that the number of proposed teacher and support staff layoffs has been significantly reduced. However, we are still concerned about the impact the proposed 300 cuts will have on our classrooms and school environments.
“The BTU expects that the total amount of layoffs will decrease even further due to the number of educators that will retire. We also anticipate the District will fill existing vacancies for the 2017-2018 school year with staff that are flagged for layoffs.
“The past five months have been extremely stressful for our membership, as well as our students and their families. Our students and parents deserve to end the school year confident in the fact that their schools will be fully staffed with teachers and paraprofessionals when they return in September. Our teachers and support staff, who remained dedicated to giving students and families their very best, deserve to enter into summer vacation assured that they will be able to return in the fall to welcome their student and families back for new year.
“As always, the BTU is committed to our members and will continue to work with the District to ensure that our teachers and support staff have the tools they need to educate the students that will be Baltimore’s future leaders.”
The budget plan will go on to the city school board for approval. Those who will be laid off will be notified by June 1.