In 2008, the Governor O’Malley and the state legislature cut the “Thornton” education funding formula, which reduced funding to City Schools and to districts statewide. Without a coalition, Baltimore’s response was weak and disorganized. In 2009, the Governor proposed deeper cuts to education as the Great Recession took hold. In response, BEC was formed by the ACLU, Strong City Baltimore, BUILD, Child First Authority, and City Neighbors Charter School, to ensure that there was an organized and powerful grassroots voice to fight back. Thanks to the hard work of BEC members and financial support from local foundations, has successfully fought back multiple attempts to cut the “Thornton” formula and won other important campaign goals.  Here is a summary of our successes over the years.

2009:   Restored $30 million in proposed cuts to City Schools.

2010:   Successfully fought back proposed cut of $60 million to school statewide and a state legislative proposal to shift 50% of teacher pension costs to local schools systems.

2011:   Supported passage of a new alcohol tax which was used to restore $12 million in proposed cuts to City Schools.

2012:   Supported restoration of the “inflation factor” of the Thornton formula, successfully fought back $22 million in proposed cuts to City Schools.

2012:   Adopted Transform Baltimore: Build Schools, Build Neighborhoods campaign and worked with city delegation members to file a bill to begin the rebuild of Baltimore’s deteriorating school buildings. State bill was put on hold and BEC worked to successfully pass a city 5-cent bottle tax to support the school construction initiative.

2013:  Turned out 3,000 city residents in Annapolis to pass the $1 billion school construction bill –  now called the 21st Century Schools program

2014:  Successfully fought back $2.7 million in proposed cuts to the School Nurse Program in Mayor’s proposed budget.

2015:   Successfully fought to restore $24 million of the $35.5 million in cuts proposed to City Schools.

2015:   Successfully secured an additional $4.2 million for Community Schools and Afterschool   Programs.

2016:   Secured an additional $12.7 million from the Governor and $10 million from the Mayor to aid in making up a $25 million dollar projected loss, based on enrollment loss and city wealth gains.

2016:   Successfully restored $2.4 million cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget for Community Schools and Afterschool Programs.

2017:   Launched #FixTheGap campaign to secure a $100 million plan to help fix City Schools’ $130 million structural budget deficit.  $60 million secured in new revenue from the city and state. City Schools used reserve funds to fill some of the gap and reduced central office spending and staff by $30 million.

During the 2018 session in Annapolis, BEC focused on securing more funding for repairing city school facilities and laying the groundwork for a new and improved state education funding formula. Here’s a summary:
1.  School Construction and Repair
  • $15 million secured for heating system replacements for School Year 2018-19
  • $30 million secured for emergency repairs for School Year 2019-20 and 2020-21 (Passed SB611)
  • $40 million secured from the traditional State School Construction Program for School Year 2018-19
  • Authorizes planning for full renovation/rebuild of the next 5 city schools under the 21st Century Schools Program
  • Improve efficiency of state school construction program, mandates state to assess the condition all school buildings, and increases statewide school construction funding (Passed HB1783)
2.  Additional Casino “Lock Box” Funding
  • In November, voters can vote in favor of the $500+ million collected from casinos to be added on top of current education funding levels (Passed SB1122)
3.  No Losses in State Education Funding From TIF Properties (Passed HB693)
4.  Other Education Laws & Budget Items Passed
  • Discipline & School Climate
  • School Safety Matters