BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises warned of financial issues related to the coronavirus pandemic in a letter to city schools staff Friday.
Santelises said the abrupt closure of city schools in the spring due to Covid-19 led to unavoidable expenses to the district over the last six months.
“Expenses included the purchase of approximately 55,000 laptops for students and teachers, 15,000 hotspots for student broadband access, and large quantities of cleaning supplies for our buildings – among many other items. While the district has received several COVID-related grants, a large gap remains between expenses incurred and grant funding,” she wrote.
“While the district has received several COVID-related grants, a large gap remains between expenses incurred and grant funding. At the same time, we’re experiencing significant reductions in revenue usually generated by meals served through the school lunch program,” Santelises continued. “We must also consider the possibility that significant revenue reductions at the city and state levels could negatively impact City Schools’ resources in future district budgets, while additional federal assistance remains an unknown.”
Santelises said the district is facing a possibility of financial challenges for the foreseeable future and would be taking some cost saving measures, like a hiring freeze to conserve resources.
“While we remain hopeful that additional funding may become available through legislative action at the state and/or federal level, we must act now to preserve financial flexibility in anticipation of events as they unfold throughout the school year,” she added.