Close to 300 layoffs in the Baltimore City Public Schools became effective June 1, according to school system Interim Director of Human Resources, DeRay McKesson.  McKesson said he wanted individuals and families impacted by the system’s layoffs to know that the system is standing by those who were let go.

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

The list of layoffs includes less than 75 classroom teachers. Principals, assistant principals, classroom assistants, office secretaries and central office staff make up the remaining employees.

“We are having individual meetings with every employee who is impacted,” said McKesson. “We are explaining the process and providing resources to every single person. We will have counseling on site on the day layoffs are announced and the day after.”

“They can apply for another job that may be open with the district and we’ll make sure people know about these opportunities,” McKesson added.

Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English said she also wanted to “clear the air” after a recent teachers forum became emotional at several points. English reiterated that employees released from Baltimore City Public Schools this week will not be left without help.

“BTU is currently working with the Baltimore Metro Council AFL-CIO Community Service Program to ensure those who may be laid-off have access to resources including unemployment benefits, eligibility for unemployment compensation, health benefits, and job placement that they may need during this difficult time,” English said in a statement.

Layoffs are part of a BCPS strategy to close a $70 million shortfall for the 2017-2018 school year. City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises is closing the $70 million gap with a $30 million cut from schools and an additional $10 million reduction from the Central Office. $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 BCPS in March, after the state’s original allocation to the city’s public schools fell short of the funding school officials expected.  BCPS is working with the Kerwin Commission to revise the state’s funding formula that determines the amount of state money city schools receives. If the formula is not revised, the school system will have to address budget shortfalls for the next two years.