Lawsuit Calls For An Additional $442 Million to $705 Million In Funding For Baltimore City Public Schools

What’s happening?

A revived mid-1990s lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Maryland could result in a $442 million to $705 million addition to the Baltimore City Public Schools budget, Zshekinah Collier reports for WYPR. A group of public school parents, the ACLU, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a motion for summary judgment in the case meant to address the Maryland State Department of Education’s long-term underfunding of city schools. 

What happened with the original lawsuit?

In 1996, a circuit court judge in Baltimore ruled that the state’s constitution requires all children to receive a quality education, and the Maryland State Board of Education reached an agreement with the ACLU to dedicate millions of additional funding to the school district. In 2008, the state phased in the Thornton Commission, a new funding formula that would dedicate more money for districts with budget shortfalls, but it was abandoned shortly after the 2008 Great Recession began. 

State lawmakers passed another plan for state education funding in 2021 called the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, but students won’t see those changes fully implemented for another 12 years. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, additional money secured from the lawsuit would allow city schools to make improvements in just a year and to address funding gaps under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future plan.

Anything else I should know? 

Baltimore City Public Schools’ current annual budget is about $1.6 billion. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund expects a hearing on the motion to be held on December 14, 2022, according to senior director of media relations, Phoebe Plagens.

You can read more here.

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