Teachers say it’s crunch time.
The General Assembly session ends in less than one week. In two weeks, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski presents his budget to the county council.
Teachers and their supporters rallied outside the Historic Courthouse in Towson Monday night, calling on the state and the county to come through with money for schools.
As several dozen people congregated at the courthouse, most wearing red, a sign of support for teachers, they were joined by Olszewski, who is a former teacher.
Olszewski presents his proposed budget to the county council April 15. He asked the school board to send him a bare-bones budget. The board instead passed a budget with a proposed increase of more than 11 percent. Olszewski said there will have to be cuts.
Olszewski said, “We’re here to stand with you and when we release our budget we want our teachers to stand with us as we try to both make those hard choices but also change the way we do business in Baltimore County.”
Olszewski campaigned as a champion for schools, but now finds himself having to balance a county budget that has an $81 million deficit. Cheryl Bost, the president of the Maryland State Education Association, said she believes Olszewski is supportive of education.
“But we know he is going to have to make cuts, we just need to make sure it’s not in salary,” Bost said.
Baltimore County’s budget picture will become more clear after the General Assembly adjourns April 8. Of key interest is a school construction bill that has passed the House that Olszewski said would mean more than $100 million dollars a year for the next four years for county school construction.