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Letter: Baltimore schools CEO freezes hiring to conserve resources amid pandemic

BALTIMORE — WBAL11 – #baltimore-md

Citing the coronavirus pandemic and associated hardships it caused, the Baltimore City schools’ CEO announced actions that include a hiring freeze in order to conserve resources.

District CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises said “unavoidable expenses” associated to the coronavirus pandemic over the past six months included the purchase of approximately 55,000 laptops for students and teachers, 15,000 hot spots for student broadband access and large quantities of cleaning supplies for schools buildings, among many other items.

Santelises said the district received several COVID-related grants, but a large gap remains. That is coupled with significant reductions in revenue usually generated by meals served through the school lunch program and revenue reductions at the city and state levels.

“As of Oct. 2, we will be releasing some of our temporary employees, which is hard. It’s very hard for us. A lot of these folks are lifeblood in their schools,” Santelises told 11 News.

The school system said the tough decisions are in line with its commitment to remain fiscally responsible.

“We are faced with the possibility of financial challenges for the foreseeable future; it is therefore our responsibility to take appropriate cost-saving measures now to ensure that we retain sufficient resources to meet our obligations to the students and families of Baltimore City,” Santelises wrote. “Taking actions like freezing hiring allows us to conserve resources and emphasizes our commitment to maintaining an environment of stability and transparency for our schools, employees and those whom we serve.”