Tag: budget cuts

Rally Today in Front of City Hall to Protest Budget Cuts to After-School Programs

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STAND FOR AFTER-SCHOOL & COMMUNITY SCHOOL FUNDING: 

TODAY, APRIL 24, 4:15 PM AT CITY HALL 

Please join BYOP (The Baltimore Youth Organizing Project), The Child First Authority, and The No Boundaries Coalition & BUILD 

Monday,  April 24th

4:15pm

@ Zion Lutheran Church-400 E. Lexington St.

(Right across the street from Baltimore City Hall)

Join us as we meet with City Council members to demand that there be no cuts to after-school funding in Baltimore City’s 2018 budget.

City Schools, Council President Identify $40 Million Combined to Further Reduce Budget Gap

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Money would come from cuts within City Schools and, potentially, police overtime funds.

Baltimore City Public Schools leaders say they have found another $30 million to cut into the remaining $70 million budget gap for next school year, and the head of the Baltimore City Council says he may know of another $10 million that the city could redirect to schools.

Balancing Baltimore’s Budget Is Actually Kind of Fun

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Being mayor always seemed like fun to me — all those ribbon cuttings! those galas! — except for the whole balancing-the-budget thing. But maybe you’re one of those people who’s always felt that you’d do a great job of prioritizing the city’s competing needs. If so, you can test out your budgeting acumen with the new “Balanced Baltimore” website, which allows you to allocate millions of dollars… as long as you’re willing to make some tough choices.

Basically, you start out with a $20 million deficit and have to figure out how to make up the money. Do you want to cut libraries? Or services for the mentally ill? You could save $1 million if you cut down on repairing potholes — but the roads are already bad enough.

Towson University Baseball Players Stung by News of Cuts

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Towson University President Maravene Loeshke
Towson University President Maravene Loeschke

It feels strange and sad to be bidding farewell to a baseball team at the beginning of the season, even before players have been at the game long enough to revel in wins and suffer setbacks. But that’s the scenario for Towson University’s baseball team, which received the stinging news earlier this month.

When Towson University president Maravene Loeschke publicly announced to the school’s baseball and soccer players on Friday March 8, 2013 that she had decided to cut both teams from the sports program, she made the disappointing news abruptly. Loeschke gave the players only about an hour’s notice before the announcement, but she had time enough to arrange for security: she was flanked by several police officers as she departed from the hasty announcement. Obviously, the president knew the revelation wouldn’t be met favorably.

Critics denounced the process that led to Loeschke’s decision as lacking transparency and using unreliable data. Having followed the story since news of the possible pending cuts first broke last year, I felt like I wanted to know more too. So I was excited when I read the headline of the commentary in the Baltimore Sun this past Sunday: Painful cuts TU needs, by Maravene Loeschke. This is it, I thought. Finally I will understand the whys behind the canned assertions of “achieving fiscal stability and Title IX compliance.” I guess I should have known better.

PETA’s Vegan Bikini Girl on Baltimore’s Fire Trucks?

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Animal-rights group PETA doesn’t shy from controversy — in fact, quite the opposite. So I suppose it’s no surprise that when Baltimore City Councilmember William “Pete” Welch floated the idea of including ads on city fire trucks as a way to raise funds for trucks that would otherwise have to disband, PETA saw it as an opportunity. While the Baltimore Brew imagined what our city would look like with a Food4Less or Big Boyz Bail Bonds fire truck, PETA’s proposed ad continues the organization’s long history of using hot women to promote animal activism.

Even if this is a ploy to garner publicity (which it obviously is), you think they could’ve come up with a more tasteful slogan than “VEGANS ARE HOT!,” considering the ad would run on the side of a fire truck. “Hot” is usually not a positive word in that context. Extending the poor-taste pun to the max in her letter to Welch, PETA manager Lindsay Rajt writes that “PETA is happy to help Baltimore’s fire departments from going up in smoke… [This ad], featuring a sexy woman showing off her vegan physique, will drive Baltimore residents to PETA’s heart-healthy vegan recipes that will keep them firing on all cylinders… By going vegan, Baltimore residents can save animals, protect their health, and help themselves become ‘hot stuff’!” She also helpfully points out that vegans are 18 percent thinner than meat-eaters.

Makes a Big Boyz Bail Bonds fire truck (repainted in hot pink and yellow?) sound kind of appealing.

Why We Need International Education

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As Congress focuses on trimming fat and cutting budgets, a few long-standing international education programs might find themselves significantly de-funded — or perhaps non-existent. I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with John McCain on this one — he recently called the proposed cuts to international education “short-sighted.” To say the least.

For me, it’s personal. In 2006-7, I had a Fulbright to Morocco. I didn’t come out of the experience with any ground-breaking research or publish any scholarly articles, but I made some friends, saw a sheep get slaughtered, felt the hunger pangs of the Ramadan fast, went to a country wedding, facilitated a forbidden romance, and ate a lot of great food.

So why should the State Department fund programs with results that are a lot less concrete than nabbing terrorists or building schools? Well, I’d argue that the Fulbright — and its fellow State Department-run outreach programs — do a subtle, sneaky amount of good for the U.S.’s image. I remember haggling over a pair of shoes in the souk and throwing in some of my best colloquial Moroccan Arabic expressions, figuring they’d help me get a better price. The shopkeeper said something I didn’t understand, and I must’ve given him a puzzled look. “Oh,” he said, slightly disappointed. “Most of the Americans around here speak Berber.” (He was referring, of course, to the Peace Corps volunteers, many of whom got training in local languages even more obscure than colloquial Moroccan Arabic.)

The State Department’s educational outreach programs foster the kind of daily exchange between people that provides the foundation for diplomacy. We learn each other’s languages. We start to appreciate each other’s trashy pop music and weird ice cream flavors. We attend each other’s weddings, and recommend books to one another. Our scholars bounce ideas off one another. In an increasingly splintered, factionalized world, we learn about one another. Not to mention that a recent internal audit found that we don’t have nearly enough skilled foreign language speakers in our national security agencies.

 Where do you stand on the issue of funding international education programs?

(Petitions against de-funding can be found here and here.)

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