Baltimore City Public Schools System (BCPSS) officials were able to reduce the actual number of expected staff layoffs and sent layoff notices to only 115 employees, June 1.  The actual employee reduction is much lower than the projected number of 300 layoffs announced in March, according to BCPSS Interim Director of Human Services DeRay McKesson.  The layoffs will become effective June 30.

McKesson wants the effected employees and their families to know that although the total number of employees impacted is smaller than projected, BCPSS is involved in personal outreach to each staff member who received a reduction in force notification this week.

BCPSS Interim Director of Human Services DeRay McKesson. (AP Photo)

“We want to provide as much support to those impacted by the District’s personnel decisions,” McKesson told the AFRO.

The list of layoffs was made public June 1 and includes a variety of positions across the district.

Thirty-two of the affected employees work in the district office and 83 are on site at schools, including 15 classroom teachers, a number much smaller than the original projection of up to 75 classroom instructors, according to a statement issued by BCPSS, Thursday.  

BCPSS was able to reduce the number of layoffs further by eliminating more than 100 vacant positions, according to school personnel.  

Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English said the layoffs impacted several employee unions, which will all be working together to ensure employees receive help.

Thirty-four of the announced staff reductions are members of the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU), including 21 librarians and school counselors. Thirty-nine are members of the Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA), with 24 of these serving as assistant principals.  Twenty-six staff belonging to the Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) unit of the BTU, 11 support staff who belong to the City Union of Baltimore (CUB), and five district office managers who do not belong to a bargaining unit round out the list of 115 layoffs.

Layoffs are part of a BCPSS strategy to close a $70 million shortfall for the 2017-2018 school year. BCPSS CEO Sonja Santelises plans to close the gap with a $30 million cut from schools and an additional $10 million reduction from the System’s central office. Some $21 million will be transferred from a reserve fund and the system is expecting $10 million in savings next year.

Baltimore City officials and state legislators pledged $60 million to reduce an original $130 million gap facing BCPSS in March, after the state’s original allocation to the city’s public schools fell woefully short of the operating funds needed by the district.  BCPSS is currently working with the state’s Kerwin Commission to revise the state’s funding formula that determines the allocation of funds from the state to the city’s public schools that will potentially leave the school system with budget shortfalls for the next two years until it is corrected.