Budget & Finance

City, Not State, to Lend Money To Baltimore Schools

By John Gehring — March 17, 2004 1 min read

Mayor Martin O’Malley of Baltimore backed away last week from a deal that would have given the state much greater authority over the city’s school system in exchange for a loan to keep it afloat.

The mayor’s decision to support a City Council vote to provide the schools with a $42 million loan, drawn from the city’s rainy-day fund, was an unexpected departure from his support for an earlier bailout plan. The turnabout stunned Maryland’s governor and state legislative leaders.

For weeks, Mayor O’Malley, a Democrat, and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, have been negotiating, along with city and state education leaders, to come up with a plan to provide aid for the 90,000-student Baltimore schools. The district faces a cash-flow emergency that could leave it insolvent by the end of this month, along with a $58 million shortfall in its $914 million budget.

After Mr. Ehrlich rejected the district’s plan for accountability in handling its finances—a measure the governor said was needed before the state provided a loan—his administration began pushing for a plan to form a public school “authority” to oversee the district. (“Baltimore Bailout in Doubt; State Takeover on the Table,” March 3, 2004.)

Local Criticism

But the plan faced increasing criticism from Baltimore legislative leaders, who saw it as handing too much power to the state, even as the mayor and governor agreed on March 5 to move ahead with the compromise plan.

Mayor O’Malley said his decision to change course and support a city councilman’s proposal to tap the $56 million rainy-day fund came after the mayor decided the city was in a better position to maintain local accountability.

“I have come to the conclusion that we can better reform Baltimore’s school system by taking more responsibility, not less,” Mr. O’Malley said in a March 9 statement.

The loan must be approved by the city’s Board of Estimates.

Henry P. Fawell, a spokesman for the governor, said the mayor’s decision reflected Mr. O’Malley’s shifting positions on how to handle the crisis.

“It’s back to square one,” Mr. Fawell said. “We are back to where we began, which is the city taking responsibility for the gross negligence of the city school system. The governor wishes them well.”

Related Tags:

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Budget & Finance From Our Research Center School Leaders Say Stimulus Cash Will Go a Long Way—But Deep Funding Challenges Remain
An EdWeek survey finds many districts avoided the dire fiscal fate predicted last spring. But a flood of federal aid poses stark choices.
8 min read
Illustration of school building and dollar symbol
Getty
Budget & Finance Letter to the Editor Don’t Knock Schools for Cautious Spending
School district leaders must navigate many complexities as they seek to invest federal recovery funds, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Budget & Finance Spotlight Spotlight on The American Rescue Plan
In this Spotlight, subcategorize the unprecedented digits K12 will have available and more.
Budget & Finance Spending on Special Ed. in Some Districts Plunged This Year. Budget Cuts Could Be Next
Schools faced unprecedented challenges delivering instruction and support to students with disabilities this year—and the costs of providing those services evolved as well.
7 min read
An Issaquah School District school bus waits at an intersection near where a rally to encourage wider opening of in-person learning was being held on Feb. 24, 2021, in Issaquah, Wash.. Students in kindergarten and lower-elementary grades recently returned to school in the district under a hybrid in-person learning program, but older elementary, middle-, and high school students are still being taught remotely.
A school bus waits at an intersection near the site of a rally in February to encourage wider opening of in-person learning in the Issaquah School District in Issaquah, Wash. Transportation costs for students with special needs this year dipped because of remote learning.
Ted S. Warren/AP