The Baltimore City school district is facing a $129 million deficient, which would force the layoffs of 1,000 staff members and teachers. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh outlined a plan Wednesday that would cut about $5.5 million from the Baltimore Police Department budget. The funding would be utilized to fill a shortfall in the school district’s budget.
Pugh is urging Kevin Davis, Baltimore Police Commissioner, to find cuts in the department’s $480 million budget. It has already been predicted that police overtime spending will reach over $42 million this year, but officials have already prepared for the expense by setting aside $16 million.
“I am going to hold them to a police overtime budget,” Pugh said. “I am still looking at their budget currently. Let me just say, $42 million will not be their overtime budget.” Pugh didn’t mention how much money she thought would be reasonable for police overtime.
Pugh went on to say that she was currently investigating to determine if the department has sufficient oversight and technology for granting overtime appropriately. The city’s Finance Department is considering whether it is necessary to replace police officers working desk jobs with civilian workers. With the spiking violence and crime, more police officers have been shifted to patrol.
T.J. Smith, Baltimore police spokesman, said on Wednesday that overtime is a requirement for staff shortages, crime suppression, parades, crime scene duties and court appearances that occur right before shift changes.
Pugh and state lawmakers have come to an agreement to send the Baltimore school district $180 million over a three-year period. Dr. Sonja Santelises, CEO, Baltimore City Public School System, plans to cut $30 million from the school budget, by reducing spending and hiring at the district office.