To develop the budget each year, City Schools’ finance staff estimate the revenue the district will receive from the state, city, and federal governments and compare that to anticipated expenses for the coming year. For 2017-18, the difference between revenue and expenses (the budget gap) is approximately $130 million.

There are five main drivers that have contributed to the gap this year and in prior years:

 Revenue Revenue has declined (or remained flat) for several years. The dollars the district receives each year are closely tied to enrollment, which has been decreasing. Learn more.
 District Footprint City Schools offers students a wide range of schools, but smaller schools cost more to operate. Learn more.
 Student need City Schools students, as compared to students statewide, have a much higher rate of poverty and special education needs. Learn more.
 Salary and Benefits To attract and retain highly-qualified and talented staff, City Schools offers benefits and salaries that exceed many other districts’. Learn more.
 21st Century School Buildings City Schools is moving forward with a construction plan to bring new and renovated school buildings to neighborhoods across Baltimore. Learn more.

39 thoughts on “Drivers


    Every year it’s the same thing. Budget cuts to Baltimore City Public Schools. Well, where is the money? First, how can you plan for a budget and you do not know how many kids to plan for. With Maryland being a “welcoming state”, kids come in and out of the classrooms all the time, all during the school year. Disrupting the kids who parents have and continue to pay taxes here in the state of Maryland. And, the parents do not want Mayland to be a so called “welcoming state”. These undocumented kids are getting money for new equipment while our kids are looking puzzled as to why they are not getting new equipment. Try explaining that to school children who notice this. Parents are working and getting short changed. A lot of undocumented parents aren’t working. How do I know? They bring their children to school in pajamas every morning. The children tell you that their parents don’t work. So, what are we paying taxes for? Our children are not benefiting. The schools have become holding places for the undocumented children. Other children have to put up with the daily interruptions of the coming and going of these undocumented children. The children play in the hallways and bathrooms. They go in the bathrooms to wet their hair and then throw all of the paper towels out in the hallway. I work in the school system and see it first hand. They constantly break school property, without a care in the world. I guess they can, they aren’t paying for anything. They do not care. Some will even tell you they are only in school so their parents won’t go to jail. Really? All of this is going on in the schools. And no one has a right to ask the status of the children? But you will hound the other children for shot records and every other type of information you want. Teachers are being laid off again, and classroom size will inflate again. This is a poor and failed system and all Baltimore City does is escalate the problem. It’s really bad that the citizens of Maryland do not have a say so in where their tax dollars are being spend and whom they are being spent on. Teachers go to school to have a profession only to be told they no longer have a job. But you are spending tax dollars on people who do not even put money in the state. ALL OF THE SYSTEMS IN THE CITY HAS FAILED……..DEFINITELY THE SCHOOL SYSTEM……..BUT YOU CONTINUE TO BE A WELCOMING STATE………………………………TRY ENFORCING THE LAW…………………YOU ARE AN EDUCATED PERSON…………………….DEFINE LEGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous Reply

      wow… I have never in a million years heard that undocumented children are the cause of the budget gap… That is a new one… however my city doesn’t have many children that might be undocumented and we are facing the same issues… HATE will not fix this issue…

  2. Anonymous Reply

    The school system still needs to make structural changes to address the reality that they are actually only serving about 68,000 students in their own public school buildings. They should really look again at their structural deficit that includes too many schools for the number of students and take this opportunity to right-size the district. Any schools that are closed, should have the playgrounds and greenspace turned over to the City to maintain as greenspaces and places for children to play.

    The school system also keeps stating that their central office administration costs are in-line with other districts, but when you compare Baltimore City to the statewide average for centralized costs, they are nearly double! I completely support efforts for Baltimore City schools to receive more funding and the state and city should look to ways to support and hold the district accountable to undergo a more comprehensive right-sizing. The city or state needs to step up and take the 21st building fund off the back of the district.

    As Baltimore City increases wealth through tax incentives, the schools are losing money and it shouldn’t be a trade-off. There is no doubt that Baltimore serves more students in severe poverty and that should be a multiplier. These are not only Baltimore’s children, they are Maryland’s children and they deserve a strong and robust education , and not one scraped down to the bare minimum because the adults can’t figure it out.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    The letter from the CEO was very well written. And many of these comments are very impressive and true, there is some waste that should be considered prior to teachers. It seems everyone has a different (but in many ways similar) idea of how we should balance the budget. I agree that spending money on constant change such as infinite campus is wasteful but there are many other issues as well. In corporate, they cut from the top. Our business is education and the care of students is more delicate. Over time, it has proven that a veteran teacher who is good is one of the best thing the school building offers the students, not constant change. Rather than cutting teachers and having schools suffer is it possible to barter with the teachers making over 90,000 by saying will you consider staying in the system but taking a minor pay cut of 2,000? It sounds quirky but why not? I don’t make that much but if I did I would be a team player and say yes. I would even agree at my smaller salary to freeze a year of increase if push came to shove. I would be grateful to still have a job. Many people could not afford a furlough and if this happens, I hope it is done very few days and spread out. It is very bothersome that any system would consider cutting the classroom teacher who manages large groups of students daily all day long versus the supporting roles outside the classroom. I also heavily disagree that Professional Development should increase. Much of that could be presented online. It is troublesome that the low man on the totem pole is going to get cut (new teachers and lower paid who often work endless hours).
    One last point I feel the need to mention. How can the CEO promise parents the same quality of care when the reality is classroom sizes will increase and the expectations for the teachers increases and changes every year. Where is the respect and trust of the teachers? Why hire for every one teacher 3 flies to watch over the teacher when often times the teacher is more qualified than the specialist coming in to watch the teacher? And why Baltimore city the ridiculous paper work after paper work. Give the Principals a break like the counties and do one observation every other year for the tenured.

  4. Anonymous Reply


  5. Anonymous Reply


  6. Anonymous Reply

    If schools are budgeted and stay within those budgets, then where are the monies disappearing from? It must be from North Ave.


    Also, why does the CEO need a driver that makes an insane amount?

    Why do we pay for a human capital officer that is out protesting all the time and doing meetings? We pay him for that instead of doing this job, because I heard you hired him an assistant? Also, what about his racist twitter feeds. As a multi-racial organization, I don’t think he should be putting some of those comments out there.

    Why are schools opened with fewer than 200 students? It would make sense to have them redistricted to the next closer school and provide transportation if needed because they are not within a walkable range.

    Did we need a new entrance remodel to the HQ?

    Will top officials in the school system take a furlough or pay reduction/freeze since the CEO’s pay went up this year from the past year’s?

    Why are schools paying for temporary subs when you have surplus teachers doing nothing?

    Stop allowing principals to transfer these nontenure teachers whom do not know what they are doing?

    Get rid of those accelerated programs such as New Leaders and TFT.

    Look at some principals and ask them why they have so many people out of the classroom?

    Stop allowing illegal children draining the system but not getting paid.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Some of what you say I agree, but why close small schools? That is insensitive and not the answer at all. Some students need a smaller less anxiety inducing environment and if it is close to their home very convenient and safe for parent and student.

      • anonymous Reply

        Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Also, ” smaller schools” are the ones that attract students with specific professional interests and provide intensive learning for very motivated students. It’s basically telling our children that they don’t deserve the benefits of what middle class families can get from private schools and small charter schools funded by property tax, which is inequitably funded. Our children deserve specialized schools too! Equal education for all, not just some.

  7. Anonymous Reply

    I believe we should have a 3 year plan. Stop trying to make up the gap in one year. There are dedicated educators that work their Butts off to make sure their students get the best. We are going to let them go and it’s not fair to them or the students. Close the small schools, stop supporting the charter schools, allow high schools to get sponsorships for athletics without going through loops, stop the teach for America program, stop AU’S for teachers, give a concrete plan on what and how we spend money, lastly, central office need to do pay cuts.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Charter schools don’t get the support you think. They pay rent, get no network support, pay for IT calls, etc. They are working in a deficit just as much as the traditional school. Everyone in the city is feeling the budget issues.

  8. Anna Reply

    We see that the tiny schools are not financially possible to maintain. Combining schools seems to be the answer by eliminating staff- especially the top paid staff- and reducing costs. Please keep art in the schools, however. Please! It is the reason I can get my kids up in the morning to go to school. Keep the art, lose the tiny schools.

  9. Anonymous Reply

    It is ironic the on the same Professional Development day we rolled out an instructional strategy to staff which will increase student achievement, we also released information that over 1,000 school staff may be laid off. The conversation quickly changed from excitement about implementing the strategy to anxiety about individuals future. It takes human resources and funds to give our children the quality education they deserve. We will not reach our goals if we lack in either one. Lawmakers and leaders should find the funds so that we can keep the promised we made to our children-providing them with a quality education that will prepare them to shape the future.

  10. Anonymous Reply

    I think we are to stop replacing the Data Systems, like we just brought Chancery SMS and now we have Infinite Campus which is the same company just a different name, the same people trains us for all the student data input and we still having problems pulling accurate reports. I think this is a big waste which is costing City Schools thousands of dollars and you still have to continue buying add-on to pull reports. When we had SASI it allowed us to pull reports we needed on students and we didn’t have to buy additional data .

  11. Anonymous Reply

    Why is that we have 3rd party vendors in our schools and our very own certified staff will be cut. In the corporate world arena we utilize our resources opposed to funding outside entities. Very confused by this.

  12. Charlene Reply

    These are obviously scarey and uncertain times. We are here working because we need to care for ourselves and our families. But we also love working and supporting children who come through BCPS. From my position it is clear that the system – whoever is included – is failing the children, bottom line. If education is not supported without excuses and continued under financing the handwriting on the proverbial wall is this: pay now or pay later. The city, state, federal government will pay the money in the long run. Public assistance, warehousing young men and women in jails, all types of criminal activity (especially teens who on the streets because they have not been successful in school (what a tragedy), teenage pregancy (teens who have no hope or can’t see a future create something to give themselves a purpose), continuing to pay for children who don’t come to school because there is no penalty to parents for not sending their children to school (and you won’t have staff like social workers to knock on doors), and some of those children’s parents get public assistance. If I have not made myself clear – Pay now or pay late, for sure.

    • Sam Reply

      I love this comment and you speak the truth. For too long have we ignored what is important in maintaining an orderly society. People at the top, because they have theirs, ignore us in the middle and bottom. This sort of class warfare needs to stop and we need to give our children a fighting chance at changing their circumstances. Thanks again for your comment.

  13. Michael Robinson-Williams Reply

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of the respondents. I even agree with the CEO. We have been living in an apathetic bubble for years. We are now about to shoot ourselves in the foot and attempt to win the race. This is the result of not accepting the facts. Promises, promises, promises! Broken promises. The lying about funding the schools with the gambling revenue should be addressed. Millions of dollars are needed for our children’s education. It is available but NEVER given. The governor, the mayor, the city council, the school board must hear from the parents and teachers! Without protesting this in a public arena, the behind the closed doors propositions and undercutting our children’s education will continue. 35 to 40 students in a room will only increase AND that means MORE disruption; even for a highly qualified teacher. The other students will surely suffer. And yes, a forced buyout for those who are about to retire. AND yes, cut some jobs but do it with a process that makes sense.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I do not agree to force retirees if they are the classroom teacher….I am not one but the ones we have in our building are the most solid and the students would lose.

    • Sam Reply

      I agree with a lot of what you say. Where is the money promised from the casinos? They saw record profits over the last holiday season, yet no money was allocated to schools. The state has cut funding for schools every year, yet funding for jails has increased. You work with less, yet you are still expected to deliver better results. The formula seems backwards to me.

  14. ANNONYMOUS Reply

    1. place a limit on earned time- this will save money in later days.
    2. allow people to prove their knowledge of job (before hire) before paying them so much money.
    3. stop wasting money on useless things, like a driver for the CEO, they should be able to drive themselves.
    4. We are here to serve the CHILDREN, NOT OURSELVES.
    5. Stop allowing only certain privileges to certain people. (longevity)
    6. Stop trying to have a one size fit all education for the students.

  15. Anonymous Reply

    Go bang on congresses door. The kids are the ones suffering here. I care more about improving the schools and creating programs for the families of our students. This is very disappointing news from our new CEO. I really hope it is not more of the same. We need a strong leader who will not take the answer “Sorry, there isn’t enough money”. This city is well passed the point of struggling. Education and family support is needed. Our new CEO is getting paid $298,000 PER YEAR for the next four years. That is public information. She needs to be held to a high standard. The amount of money those positions get paid is a HUGE part of our problem. The schools fall apart. The children suffer, and our CEO and “leaders” get huge payoffs.

  16. Baltimore4kids Reply

    The model pathway is not the issue. A minimal amount of teachers make it there. And trust me, we need to retain these highly qualified teachers! Let’s look to retaining qualified teachers in any way possible and instead close failing schools!

  17. Constance Reply

    Why is that we can build 2 stadiums, a casino, offer business no taxes and can’t fund our schools with what they children need to be successful?

  18. Angela Reply

    When we agred to new casinos under the premise the revenue was going to the schools it was a win win for everyone. The horseshoe brings in millions yet our kids continue to suffer. My solution like a lot of parents is to movr out of the city I love for the sake of my babies. The state does not care about the education of our kids.

  19. P Turner Reply

    Completely eliminate the mobile phone expense from the school districts budget. Let employees pay for their own phones and service

  20. Ethan McLeod Reply

    Baltimore City School System has the second highest pay scale in the state. Unfortunately the tax base is not equal to the task. When the Lottery was approved years ago the proceeds were dedicated to education. The very next year it was deemed that new professional sports stadiums were more important than education so that money was directed to those projects (stadium commission).
    Casino gambling was supported with the promise that a dedicated amount of the profits would go to education. As soon as the ink was dry on that agreement the state cut the education budget and created a funding gap.
    Baltimore City Government builds a hotel. Has the City ever posted a profit from this venture?
    Baltimore City Government offers tax breaks to companies that are willing to build or move here. If a company is not taxed are they funding education?
    State and local government has failed Baltimore City School System and now we are faced with massive layoffs. No resources (Physical Education, Art, Music, Performing Arts), classes with 40 students with one teacher; is this education? Our Governor has stated “career and college ready” for our students. No computers in the class room, teachers purchasing their own copy machine paper short staff and now this.
    To all politicians: come walk in my shoes, you would last a week.

    • Sam Reply

      I thought I was the only one preaching this! A lot of promises have been made at the expense of the children of our city. The only funding for our kids that has increased is that for privatized prison construction. With what has been going on, even with our best efforts within the schools, there’s not much we can do to stem the school to prison pipeline. We need to invest in our kids futures because it will make a better future for all of us in this city.

  21. Steven Martinez Reply

    The model pathway isn’t the issue… a minimal amount of teachers make it there… A real issue eating up the budget is TFA teachers coming into the city, getting tuition reimbursement, AUs, and moving to the professional pathway. They are getting a HUGE chuck of the pot for a teacher that may leave after two years.

    • em Reply

      Teachers who receive tuition reimbursement sign a contract to work in the district for five years, which begins after the last semester they receive the last reimbursement check. They are also limited to a certain amount of credits per year and only a percentage of the actual credit total, not the actual total it costs to take the classes. Also, Master’s degrees are required to stay teaching after a certain amount of time in Maryland public schools.

    • Anonymous Reply


      I understand your reservation about tfa teachers. But the overwhelming majority of tfa teachers do not have access to the professional pathway until the 3rd or 4th year of teaching. And at that point the pay bump would be similar to a traditionally trained teacher

  22. Joyce Logan Reply

    Ask the city why you aren’t getting the gambling money as promised.

  23. Anonymous Reply

    Close under enrolled or low enrollment schools. Forced buyouts for those at or about to retire. Go back to traditional pay scales. Furlough PD days- Teachers can have the day off. Get rid of bad teachers (the real bad ones, not the ones that are good and just not liked by their principals) 2 year pay freeze. Eliminate freshman summer bridge.

  24. Anonymous Reply

    Remove Model Pathway, reduce the number of non instructional positions, save jobs.

  25. Anonymous Reply

    Remove Model Pathway, reduce the the number of non instructional positions, save jobs.

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