BALTIMORE (WJZ)– After hundreds of students and teachers voiced concerns about education the Baltimore City Council and the mayor have agreed on a budget.
The budget will put more cash into public schools and after school programs.
Some call the deal a public safety strategy.
It includes more than $10 million to city schools over the course of three years.
The budget standoff lingered for weeks, heated moments and nights of duking it out in City Hall are now in the past.
“It’s very hard to do what council did,” says Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke of the 14th district.
The council and the Mayor Catherine Pugh hammered out a deal that focuses heavily on education, sending $3 million to city schools each year, $2.6 million to after school programs and $1.5 million to safe streets.
“Our kids need more and I’m so proud that this city council stood with children and delivered for them,” says Councilman Zeke Cohen of the 1st district.
In a city ravaged by gunfire, councilman Cohen says it’s about giving young ones a chance.
“If our kids don’t feel nurtured, if they don’t feel like our city cares about them, we’re going to have so much more violence,” Cohen says.
Before the budget deal, city schools thought they’d be forced to lay off more than 1,000 employees but at the end of the day, it turned out to only be dozens.
The council even approved a series of cuts to the mayor’s proposal totaling more than $20 million.
Councilwoman Clarke says it’s all about the children.
“It says they’re the most important things in the world to us in the city government,” she says.
At the same time, it shows unity between the council and the mayor.
“It just feels like an enormous win for Baltimore as you know, this is a city that needs some wins right now,” Cohen says.
The budget still has to pass through some procedural steps but is expected to be finalized on Monday.