This morning on WEAA’s Marc Steiner Show, leaders of the OSI-funded Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC), talked about ongoing efforts to get local leaders to fix the $130 million gap in the Baltimore City Public Schools budget for academic year 2017-18. Listen to the whole conversation here.
“We’re asking for the mayor and the governor to get together and figure out, not only how to fix this crisis this year… but also in the coming years, so we don’t find ourselves in this same situation all the time,” said Sharicca Boldon, a Community School Coordinator with Strong City Baltimore and co-chair of the BEC. “This is something that has been happening annually, an annual song-and-dance when we have to come out and fight for funding.”
In recent weeks, the BEC has organized a rally in Annapolis and a postcard campaign for students, while groups like the Baltimore Algebra Project and the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance have organized other events to put pressure on local leadership.
Frank Patinella, an advocate with ACLU-Maryland’s Education Reform Project and co-chair of BEC, noted that Mayor Pugh and Governor Hogan met yesterday, but haven’t discussed if any progress has been made on funding. “These negaotiations always happen behiond closed doorsWhen they’re both ready with their numbers they’re going to come out and let us know,” he said.
As Boldon noted, the district needs the mayor and governor to come to a decision very quickly to forestall devastating cuts to staff and programs.
“Dr. Santelises has said that she needs to know by April 1 what the funding commitments are and I’m hopeful that things don’t drag out that far,” Boldon said. “There absolutely is a sense of urgency to figure this out and figure it out now.”