As of January 2017, the budget gap projected for 2017-18 will require the district to implement some of the same short-term solutions that have been used in prior years. These include layoffs, at both schools and the district office (read more in Dr. Santelises’ January 27 letter to the community).

To break the annual cycle of budget gaps, staff members are also working on structural changes that will improve the district’s financial stability over the next few years. This work is being done in partnership with ERS, the outside firm that has helped take a deeper look into City Schools’ financial situation.

One example is addressing our students’ greater levels of need, which can lead to a cycle of specialization with ever-greater numbers of students requiring additional services.

To address this, both from a student and budgetary standpoint, City Schools is looking to identify steps that can be taken to prevent this ongoing cycle, such as early intervention to address student need before it is compounded.

11 thoughts on “Where We’re Headed

  1. Anonymous Reply

    My suggestion is for the District to implement a systemic 10-day Furlough this summer where the entire District would close down each Friday (including North Ave). This would save a tremendous amount of money in salaries, air conditioning, electricity, phones, etc. The 10-day Furlough would be spread out over 10 or 20 pay periods throughout the school year in order to lessen the impact on employees financially. Additionally, I think that the District should seriously consider making Assistant Principals 11-month employees similarly to other surrounding school systems.

  2. Richard Brooks Reply

    What is concerning about this entire message is the dependency that we as a city have on the other districts and counties, which is the state. The numbers for crime and poverty, declining revenue, and benefits’ costs are internal issues that are not going away. When will the city start to address the systemic issues that start with poverty, which leads to crime, which fosters broken homes and the demographic and cultural challenges that make a successful school almost impossible in a devastated and declining city? We can continue to support the Inner Harbors, the Harbor Easts, and the Port Covingtons, but the tax breaks limit the financial impacts of that growth, and the poverty and crime continue unabated in the Eastern, Western, Northwestern and Southern districts of Baltimore. We need to stop blaming everyone and everything and take a deep hard look into the soul of this city, and change our culture. Otherwise, we will continue to be a beggar dependent on others for our meager existence.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    You should put some stipulations on career path transfer. For example a teacher should have at least 3 years experience or be in their 3rd year to go from standard to professional track. A teacher should have at least 5 years experience to move from professional to model track. Its reasonable and fair, and teacher’s will probably be on board with it. It still offers incentive based growth, but saves the district some money in that you won’t have 2nd & 3rd year teachers on the model track.

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Why aren’t we merging these schools with 500 or less students? Especially the middle and high schools. This is unacceptable. Especially since some of these schools are operating in the same neighborhoods and even in the same buildings! It’s too many schools…. and with these little schools their aren’t enough teachers teaching the same content/grade levels to even have collaborative planning opportunities. Without collaborative planning and departmentalizations, teachers aren’t able to grow and/or create methods or strategies of instruction that can help their students. Get rid of all of these little schools! We have enough buildings….

  5. Anonymous Reply

    There needs to be a comprehensive review of costly contracts. It makes no sense to pay for a program like Naviance for college and career planning when there are countless free (and superior!) resources available online.

  6. Anonymous Reply

    This is a situation that has been looming for far too long. The reality is that we can sustain the number of schools that we currently maintain. Some communities, mostly in challenged communities, have three or more of the same type of schools within less than one mile…and they are all underfunded and underpopulated.

    The closing of schools is an very difficult process that must occur.

  7. Anonymous Reply

    1. Restructure the BTU contract.
    2. Make Assistant Principals and non-essential Central Office personnel 11-month employees
    3. Consolidate schools
    4. Stop allowing charter schools – they haven’t proven to be any more effective than the regular schools
    5. Centralize school budgets – most principals don’t have a clue about how to truly staff schools
    6. Start making more Central Office personnel actually go out and DIRECTLY support and impact instruction in schools
    7. Offer a one-time early out with a great health benefit package

  8. Vaughn Reply

    1. How long will it take to get out of the rut that we are in?
    2. Will the lay offs and furlongs really make a dent in the $130 million deficit?
    3. Will the district offer early retirement or other offers to those who want to leave early?
    4. Lastly, what is the timeline of decision making for the lay-offs?

  9. Anonymous Reply

    Old Timer, where are these rich charter schools you speak of? A number of charter schools are hanging on by a thread, and ONLY because they have a little bit of reserves carried forward from past years in the bank. Year-over-year cuts to charter school per pupil funding has drained all cushions.

    Re: the City figuring out a new funding formula – that is out of the City’s hands. It’s the job of the Kirwan Commission and Annapolis. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation that exempts TIF properties from the wealth calculation for 2018 and 2019. TIF projects are good for economic development and don’t bring in any new tax revenue to the City. The new formula should indeed address this.

    Your other points are spot on.

  10. OldTimer Reply

    1. Stop letting charter schools keep the money they don’t spend at the end of the school year. Be tough but fair when funding charter schools. They shouldn’t become rich on the backs of students attending traditional schools.
    2. Re-do the BTU contract; it’s not sustainable.
    3. Employees (including me) need to cough up some additional $ for benefits; the current way it’s being done is not sustainable.
    4. Institute an aggressive PR campaign (this website is an awesome start) to educate the public about how we arrived in this situation. If you look at the comments on The Sun’s website, there are still a lot of people who think North Avenue is bloated, that all of our schools are horrible, that there is no learning going on, and that any additional funding is just throwing good money after bad.
    5. Demand that Annapolis and the City of Baltimore figure out the funding formula once and for all. It’s totally unfair that the City offers tax incentives to companies, which ultimately impacts (to the negative) the school district’s funding levels.
    6. Lastly, an internal communications campaign is a must. Everyone needs to be on the same page and rowing in unison.

  11. Michael Klapp Reply

    It is clear that the City and State have not met their obligations to the District. Efforts to share this information are critical to addressing this.
    Unfortunately, that is not likely to work.
    Students with special needs are all over the district. As such, each cluster of these students represent a small school within a school,. As noted, this makes providing services much more expensive.

    We should consider supporting these students in as few locations as is feasible. This will simplify transportation and staffing and reduce costs.

    Capital investment in new buildings should not come from annual operating expenses. It may be easier to get additional funding if those costs were broken out and funded separately from the general fund.

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