Baltimore City Schools facing $130 million shortfall

Layoffs of 1,000 possible
Posted at 11:30 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 06:40:23-05
Teachers are worried. Parents are worried And what happens to the students of Baltimore City if a significant budget shortfall isn't met?
The budget is $130 million short. The school system has asked the city for $65 million to help.
So far, no firm commitments on a specific number, but Mayor Pugh pledged during her campaign that city school funding was a top priority.
Wednesday, all sides want the same thing, a bright future for Baltimore students.
"They make a great contribution to society if it weren't for them we wouldn't be able to achieve or accomplish anything they teach us everything we need to know," said Taylor Owens, a student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. 
"I think the city schools are really taken on a long term plan to fix it structurally so I respect that but I'm disappointed it's going to take as long as it's going to take," said Maria Filardi, a parent whose children attend Baltimore City schools.  
"I've seen firsthand what happens whenever we don't get the funding we need. I've seen how that impacts our students," city teacher, Salimah Jasani, said.

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Students, parents and teachers alike gathered to discuss the significant budget shortfall.
"This is the future workforce of Baltimore," said Kim Coleman, a city teacher. "It seems a little bit short sighted to make some hasty cuts."
But cuts haven't been hasty says Baltimore City Schools CEO, Dr.  Sonja Santelises. She outlined that while the school system can be more efficient,  money is going to the right places. City leaders are set to help.
"I commit to you tonight that we will use every power within our arsenal, we will not sleep until we help to close this deficit," councilman Zeke Cohen, said at Wednesday's meeting.
Some teachers worry that closure will come too late. 
"I found out that next year two special education positions are going to be cut. I already have a class of 18 students and every single student has a severe disability. Cutting two teachers could mean that class size goes up by 10 students," said Jasani.
Meaning learning quality and personal attention goes down.
"It's  hard to imagine how our students are going to get the attention they deserve to have a successful future," Coleman said.
This budget shortfall could also mean the layoff of 1,000 workers and even with help from the state or city, cuts to teachers and schools may be inevitable.
Dr. Santelises says several public meetings are set and she looks forward to hearing the public's input.
Thursday, hundreds of people are expected to rally in Annapolis urging lawmakers to help city schools.

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