Fix the Gap in Baltimore City Schools Funding

This petition made change with 251 supporters!

Dear President Daniels:

We are writing with an urgent request. Thank you for your time in reading this letter, and we will hope you will take immediate action. We understand that you may already be working on this issue privately with the appropriate political actors, but in the absence of a public statement from JHU we feel compelled to write.

We, the signers, are privileged to be part of the Johns Hopkins family. Family is an important word in this conversation: we came to know one another because we share the Hopkins experience, and we also have families of our own. Many of us signed below intentionally chose to live within Baltimore City and to send our children to Baltimore City Public Schools. We rely upon these schools, and they are a big part of why we have been so happy to stay in Baltimore. All of us who have signed below believe in the intercultural richness of Baltimore City and want fiercely to protect it.

As you know, Baltimore City Schools are facing a $130 million budget gap. This equates to an over 20% cut at many of the schools and an over 30% reduction at signature institutions such as the Baltimore School for the Arts (actually facing an over 80% cut in the arts program and the elimination of the TWIGs program).

We implore you to speak immediately to this crisis. Please urge the Governor and the Mayor to support equitable funding for Baltimore schools. This is urgently time sensitive. Principals are submitting budgets in 28 days and over 1,000 layoffs are hanging in the balance. 

Parents, educators, and elected officials recognize there are many reasons for this year’s historic shortfall, and all involved parties agree that Baltimore City will have a 3-4 year budget shortfall until a new, statewide funding formula is passed and enacted. But in the meantime, not one of the 82,000 children in Baltimore City Public Schools has 3-4 years to wait.

From our perspective, it seems that the Governor, Mayor and Maryland Legislature are ignoring the urgency of the situation. They are “playing chicken” (as one parent put it) with kids’ lives, each assigning blame to the others and failing to produce solutions. No one who cares about kids, Baltimore City, or the state of Maryland has time for this.

This is not just a city issue. It is critical to the state of Maryland. And it is absolutely a Hopkins issue.

One Hopkins community member is who is finishing a fellowship is also a BCPS parent, and is being recruited by institutions in other states has been told, for example, that “the city of Boston is a lot nicer than Baltimore.” In recruiting faculty and staff, “nicer” has become code for safer and with better public schools. How can Baltimore, in general, and Hopkins, more specifically, compete with employers from other cities if Maryland and the city will not adequately and equitably fund Baltimore City schools?

In addition to “knowledge for the world,” JHU brings Baltimore and the State of Maryland prestige and valuable research dollars that lead to new technologies, startup companies, and jobs. You have shown by Ten by Twenty, HopkinsLocal, and other admirable initiatives that you understand the importance of JHU as a trumpet for change. At the end of the day, these initiatives don’t mean much without a functioning city, which requires a functioning school system.

Please help. Thank you.


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