Sep 28, 2020
The superintendent of Baltimore City public schools, Sonja Santelises, just announced the layoff of 451 staff, including classroom teachers and aides. She cites a budget shortfall, possibly a shortage of federal funds.
Both Baltimore City and all Maryland counties began the semester online because of COVID. Tens of thousands of dollars need to be spent on computers for students who don’t have them. The schools must buy “hot spots” for wi-fi connections from Comcast which has a monopoly in Baltimore. An estimated 7,000 students, one in every 11, do not have internet at home. Comcast has only offered a cheaper wi-fi package for two months, which does not help families with more than one person using the internet.
And layoffs? The school systems all need to hire MORE people if there are going to be small classes with plenty of space between students, not to mention extra cleaning and inspections to keep students and staff safe.
A big percent of Baltimore’s education funding comes from the state and federal governments, because Baltimore is said to be poor overall, with a small tax base compared to wealthier parts of the state.
But meanwhile, Baltimore is showing off a never-ending parade of new high-rent condos and townhouses in gentrifying areas and million-dollar apartments selling around the Inner Harbor.
Neither corporations, investment firms, nor politicians see any problems with this picture, planning on more of the same for the benefit of a wealthy few.