BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Growing concern among city school parents about their children’s education. The system discovers it’s $60 million in the hole.

Gigi Barnett speaks to parents, teachers and city leaders about what to do next.

City school leaders say they’ve been in the red before. As they’ve scrambled to cover previous shortfalls in the past, they’ll have to do it again.

Furloughing teachers, staff cutbacks and larger class sizes. They’re just a few of the ideas on the table to shore up Baltimore City school’s budget that’s already $60 million in the red for the next school year.

Parents are concerned about the shortfall.

“Cuts mean they’re going to reduce staff, and any staff that they take away from these kids is incredibly detrimental,” said Brita Jenquin, parent.

“I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference to my personal kids, but I’m worried about other kids,” said Kristen Bowden, parent.

Add on a planned $35 million budget cut from state lawmakers, and the money woes for city schools just got bigger.

“We’re used to these kinds of crises,” Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said.

Clarke says the move to stretch the budget starts in Annapolis, appealing to lawmakers and then to school leaders.

“Go over this budget with a fine tooth comb and begin to close the gaps,” she said.

Blame part of the shortfall on a 2010 contract that gave teachers a raise. It’s a budget inherited by new CEO Gregory Thornton from the last administration.

He says what’s needed is strong ideas–not blame.

“Heck no. I will admit, we knew we had this challenge in front of us. What we didn’t anticipate was the $35 million that came out of Annapolis,” said Thornton.

Thornton says he will propose a new budget to city council leaders on April 28. Until then, it’s all hands on deck.

School leaders will have to hurry to find a solution. The new fiscal year starts on July 1.


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