BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Anthony Avery is one of the more than 400 teachers and other Baltimore City school employees who received sudden notice they will be laid off just days from now. He was told October 2 will be his last day.

“I’m a computer teacher. Right now, we’re virtually learning. It’s crazy to me that my students won’t have the one person who can help them strengthen their skills in technology during the time when they need their technology skills to be top-notch to navigate this pandemic,” Avery told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.

The employees—some of whom work full-time hours—are classified as temporary by Baltimore schools.

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“It might seem like a short-term win, but in the long run, everyone loses,“ he said. “Teachers are essential workers. We are not expendable. We are not disposable.“

Their jobs are being cut as the schools’ C-E-O fears a more than $20 million budget shortfall.

As WJZ reported last week, the system is freezing hiring and warned in a letter of more cuts ahead.

 

Avery—who teaches at Hamilton Elementary Middle School—worries about his students.

“Children don’t do well with that sudden transition,” he said.

 

Kate Sam has a daughter at the same school and was stunned by the layoffs.

“This is really heartbreaking,“ Sam said. “The term ‘temp’ is disingenuous to how integral these staffers are. The staffers have been here for years, and it’s like losing members of our family.“

She plans to pressure the CEO to reconsider, but she says lawmakers also need to be held accountable.

“This is not something the school board and Dr. Santelises should have to bear alone. This is the result of years of disinvestment in our educational system,“ she said. “Now is not the time to further disinvest in education. Now is the time children should come first and not last.“

Avery hopes a last-minute deal can save these hundreds of jobs. If not, he fears the city’s students will pay a high price for short-term savings.

“I’m not angry at the city,“ he said. “I’m just disappointed at where we are. You can’t tell me there’s not another solution we can find.“

A rally in support of the educators is tentatively being planned for next Wednesday at city school headquarters on North Avenue.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Comments (6)
  1. Bill says:

    just more of Trump’s booming economy- he brags about jobs created while ignoring the fact unemployment is so high thanks to his mishandling of COVID and more jobs have ben losty than gained

    1. King Julian says:

      get help for your TDS

  2. buster says:

    idiotic to blame trump for this

  3. stemarhan says:

    Only a moron would blame Trump for Baltimore’s continued financial problems. Just think about how the city’s financial situation would be if it there weren’t so many “Healthy Holly” scandals operating under the radar.

  4. King Julian says:

    they still have not found the 50 million that disappeared from the school budget when dixon was mayor. the city has had a corrupt government for many years, ask Mary Bubala who got fired from wjz for stating just those facts

  5. Tyree says:

    As stated by King Julian, this is due clear mismanagement which goes back several administrations. I just love how these white liberals want to blame this on Trump when Trump is the only one who had the guts to call-out these Baltimore politicians on their failures. And when Brandon Scott takes over it will be more of the “same-ol-same ol” because he doesn’t know how to fix it.

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