closing schools
Baltimore City schools CEO Gregory Thornton

Baltimore City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton warned all winter that layoffs would be necessary as a result of a massive budget hole. In Thornton’s proposal, the school system’s administrative offices on North Ave. will bear the brunt of the cuts instead of individual schools.

Thornton’s first budget proposal as CEO — calls for eliminating about 120 positions at the Central Office, which means about 100 people will be laid off going into the 2015-16 school year. Along with the cuts, the Central Office is also being reorganized to add a new office for teacher professional development, among other matters.
Thornton has said the layoffs and reorganization are necessary to help close a $108 million hole. In his own first budget, Gov. Larry Hogan proposed public education cuts that would’ve meant cuts to the tune of $35.6 million. The state budget has yet to be finalized.
But it’s not all cuts. The budget includes to $2 million to bring on more English as a Second Language teachers, and another increase to allow elementary school students to have weekly arts instructors. Thornton also wants to create new opportunities for Career and Technical Education (CTE), which will include introducing a Microsoft IT Academy to expose students to coding in 25 schools.
A public forum on the budget is scheduled for April 21, with the school board slated to take a final vote April 28.

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