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
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.