Still no answers as to how city school district will close budget deficit

Posted at 9:38 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 08:42:59-05
Baltimore City Public Schools is facing a $130 million deficit heading into next school year, and is continuing to get intense focus, which, Monday, came from school principals who called on the city's mayor and governor to help.
For school advocates, the day started with a promise from Mayor Catherine Pugh that there would be an announcement on funding, and ended with uncertainty.
Teachers, principals and city lawmakers chanted in unison outside city hall, united by BUILD Baltimore, saying that something must be done to close the shortfall.
"It's more than numbers. I've been on the verge of tears for a week," said Edit Barry, a parent who's son attends Mount Royal Elementary. She said his after school program could be cut.
"It means my son loves going to school. It means my son is recognized at school," she said of the program, Playworks.
A number of factors drive the budget gap, including shrinking enrollment and rising property values. Unless the city and state come up with a combination of funds to close that shortfall, the district faces losses to art programs and more than 1,000 layoffs.
Joined by schools CEO Dr. Sonya Santelises and state lawmakers representing Baltimore at a press update in Annapolis, Pugh put pressure on Gov. Larry Hogan.
"We come here today to Annapolis to say we need help, and I've had conversations with the governor," Pugh said.
A Hogan spokesperson said the city gets the second highest amount of funding per student in the sate, but did not answer if Hogan will provide extra money for the district.
Some question revenue from state casinos.
"It's taken out the back end and put to other uses, so our schools haven't really seen the benefit," said Councilman Zeke Cohen, chairman of the city council's education committee.
Further complicating things are that both the city and state are each dealing with their own budget deficits.
Santelises is expected to submit her own budget in a few weeks.

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