BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore City Public Schools face their largest budget shortfall ever.
“This is nothing like anything I’ve seen before,” said Kim Coleman, who’s been a teacher in City schools for 12 years.
Teachers like Coleman are scared for their future. She is a leader in the advocacy group Baltimoreans for Educational Equity.
“It’s really emotional. It feels awful,” Coleman said.
The $130 million money gap could lead to more than 1,000 layoffs. Tensions got so high that teachers at one East Baltimore school held a sick out.
Jimmy Gittings of American Federation of School Administrators represents school administrators and pulled no punches about how bad things are.
“This is a crisis. There’s no question about it. The system has never been in this much debt,” Gittings said. “This is undoubtedly the worst.”
Many are asking where’s the money from casinos?
“They bought their way in here and told a blatant falsehood,” Gittings said.
They were sold to the public as a way to fund education.
Last month alone, casinos took in a record of more than $126 million. More than $25 million went to the State’s education trust fund.
The problem is the big casino money is not being added to state funding for classrooms. As it comes in, it’s replacing prior sources of education funding that the state is siphoning off for roads and other projects, leaving schools poorer than before.
“How come it’s not coming to our schools? Why are we so in debt for our kids?” said Joyce Carter, a Waverly Elementary School parent volunteer.
The State spends $11,982 per student in Baltimore City. That’s almost double than students in the surrounding counties.
“It’s a real mess in the Baltimore City school system,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “While we want to work together, they can’t just keep saying give us more money, give us more money, but we’re not going to fix the problems.”
And those problems keep coming with the City expected to lose another 1,000 students next year, taking more money with them.
“Those are going to be the future citizens of Baltimore. What do we want them to look like?” Coleman said.
The cuts are expected to happen on July 1.