The Baltimore City Public School System will lay off 450 temporary employees, trying to make up for a budget shortfall from the pandemic, the Washington Post reports.
Some federal reimbursements were reduced during the pandemic, and the school system incurred additional expenses in providing about 55,000 laptops and 15,000 WiFi hotspots to students. This has led to a budget shortfall of $21 million, which is small compared to the $1.1 billion budget. The layoffs should save the district about $3.7 million by the end of the fiscal year, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.
“I can’t just sit here and act as though something is going to save us,” the paper quoted Sonja Santelises, schools CEO, as saying. “You can’t just run up the expenses with your fingers crossed.”
The layoffs will affect full-time employees as well as those working part-time, including some teachers and teacher’s assistants. One person being laid off at Hamilton Elementary School is a teaching assistant who helps with small groups during live teaching online.
“I think it is devastating for the kids,” one Hamilton parent told the Sun. “It is shocking and awful that this is happening just into the school year when the kids are just becoming comfortable.”