Sonja Santelises

Baltimore City public schools have been facing budget deficits over the last few years, but this time it’s even bigger than usual.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Superintendent Sonja Santelises announced Wednesday that the spending hole is $129 million. The school system is facing fewer students and increasing operating costs.

But there’s still some time to climb out. Santelises said she wasn’t making the announcement to say there would be layoffs, but rather as a way to update the community and perhaps get some help.

The school system announced this week that four buildings are closing, and more could follow. Staff may also see pay cuts, as Santelises said they would explore renegotiating the union contract as a potential way to make up the gap.

The announcement was also made ahead of the state’s legislative session, when new funding could be approved to help.

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.