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aving Tomorrow, Today: Redeveloping Our Community Schools, a four-city tour to stimulate discussion and strategies for improving schools, will come to Baltimore on June 15.

The city’s public school system is in the middle of a leadership transition. Sonja Santelises will take over as CEO on July 1 from Gregory Thornton, less than two years into his four-year tenure, The Baltimore Sun reports.

Two years ago, the newspaper reported that test scores had the largest one-year drop in the decade since the Maryland School Assessments began. It was the second consecutive year that test scores fell, with grades particularly low in math.

Santelises must manage a school system that’s in financial trouble. At the beginning of this year, officials were preparing for a $25 million decline in state funding because of reduced student enrollment, according to The Sun.

Meanwhile, Baltimore faces a $60 million budget deficit that impacts its public school system. School officials announced the elimination of 171 positions to help close the budget gap.

Elected officials, education advocates, and community stakeholders criticized Thornton for his “lack of vision,” The Sun stated.

The incoming CEO is prioritizing the district’s finances and building bridges to city and community services. Santelises also wants to focus on improving low-performing schools and staffing.

The town hall meeting is organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, and the University of Phoenix. It begins at 6 p.m. at Douglas Memorial Community Church, located at 1325 Madison Avenue in Baltimore.

SOURCE: Baltimore Sun | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


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