By Devin Bartolotta

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After months of uncertainty and protests, Baltimore City Public Schools releaseD its budget for next year, ending a nearly $130 million dollar budget gap with hundreds of layoffs.

City and state lawmakers have pulled resources for months to close this massive budget gap. And now,  the school system is announcing its plan to make the numbers add up.

It could mean less than 300 layoffs for teachers, administrators, aids, and assistants as the hard-hitting cost of an unprecedented $130 million dollar shortfall in Baltimore City School’s budget.

The fight to close the gap is paired with nearly $60 million dollars in state and city funds.

“Our school leaders really did preserve to the best of their ability, the core teaching and learning experiences for kids,” says Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises.

For five months, frustrated teachers and parents have demanded a long-term fix from state and local leaders.

“If they lay off teachers then our kids are not learning and they need an education,” said one Baltimore City parent.

We love our teachers. We need these teachers. We can’t lose these teachers,” said parent Rebecca Brezenoff.

This solution to fixing the gap is better than the 1,000 layoffs initially projected. Still, the teacher’s union is worried about the impact it might have inside the classroom.

“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,” said Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English in a statement.

Less than 75 layoffs will be teachers from core subjects like math and English.

But City Councilman Zeke Cohen calls the decision painful.

“I know that kids in Baltimore are already being cheated out of a fair and adequate education. And so to lose 300 positions to me feels devastating,” he says.

The school board is set to vote on the budget by the end of the month.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said today she hopes this is the start of a long-term budget fix.
Reporting live, Devin Bartolotta, WJZ Eyewitness News.

Layoff notices will be sent out the first of the month. The Baltimore Teacher’s Union says the number of layoffs may decrease due to the number of retirees.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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