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Baltimore County teachers protest school system's budget cuts

School board proposed $86 million in cuts
Posted at 11:29 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 12:11:47-05

TOWSON, Md. — Hundreds of teachers protested in Baltimore County to advocate for themselves and their students on Tuesday evening.

It was a sea of red with a message. Teachers in Baltimore County were asking the school board for more funding.

The hope was to push county leaders to give schools the money the board requested in their original budget, but that proposal is now $86 million less.

"Salary raises and STEP and so forth, but a lot of what we are fighting for is people that we need. We need social workers, we need assistance to be able to do our jobs. We need smaller class sizes all of those things are what we are here to ask for,” said Abby Beytin, President of Teachers Association of Baltimore County

Educators rallied because the cuts would eliminate cost of living and STEP salary increases for teachers and other school employees.

“I personally have a second job and having to think about trying to save up for anything and having to work those extra hours is really burdensome as I am already overworked with my job as it is,” said Elizabeth Lutz, Sudbrook Magnet Middle School teacher.

Many also speak out in favor of extending the school day by 15 minutes and reducing high school class sizes. Talking about Baltimore County educators making less than eight other districts in the State of Maryland.

“I’ve actually talked to several colleagues who are thinking about moving for next year because they have to in order to sustain their own family," said Jessica Sheill, Lyons Mill Elementary teacher.

No proposal has been approved and in the meantime, teachers and board members are trying to figure out a way to move forward.

“This is not pointing fingers time. This is what we can do to make sure our students get what we need. We want the full budget to be put forward. We know the county executive is going to have to make some cuts but if we don’t ask for any of it we won’t get any of it.”

Another public hearing will be held February 12, 2019 and a school board vote is expected on February 19, 2019.