School officials in Baltimore are making more than $100,000 a year even though they’re failing students in the district.
The Washington Examiner reported that 1,307 school employees are paid more than $100,000 a year, with the highest-paid teacher earning $156,601. Of the more than one thousand officials earning six-figures, 316 are teachers. This is double the number of teachers making more than $100,000 in 2018. The median teacher salary in Baltimore last year was $73,592, while the average income in the city was just $29,843.
The Examiner noted that Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises was the district’s highest-paid employee, making $339,000 a year, $22,000 more than she was making just three years ago.
The news comes after Project Baltimore reported earlier this month that a high school student managed to rank near the top half of his class despite failing all but three classes over four years and obtaining a 0.13 grade point average. The unnamed student is Tiffany France’s son, whom she thought was going to receive his diploma this year. She learned just this year, however, that he would not graduate.
“He’s stressed and I am too. I told him I’m probably going to start crying. I don’t know what to do for him,” France told the outlet. “Why would he do three more years in school? He didn’t fail, the school failed him. The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that’s the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn’t deserve that.”
France’s son is a student at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts. France works three jobs and has two other children.
“She thought her oldest son was doing well because even though he failed most of his classes, he was being promoted. His transcripts show he failed Spanish I and Algebra I but was promoted to Spanish II and Algebra II. He also failed English II but was passed on to English III,” the outlet reported.
She thought that since he was moving up to the next grade, he must be passing. Project Baltimore looked into her son’s records and discovered that he “failed 22 classes and was late or absent 272 days,” though only one teacher ever requested a parent conference. France told the outlet the school never informed her that her son was failing and not attending his classes.
“I feel like they never gave my son an opportunity, like if there was an issue with him, not advancing or not progressing, that they should have contacted me first, three years ago,” she said.
France’s son was not the only student at the school who kept moving up despite failing. Project Baltimore reported that hundreds of students were promoted while failing most of their classes and skipping school.
After the report, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) demanded a full investigation into Augusta, the Examiner reported.
“This is completely unacceptable,” Hogan said, according to the outlet. “It’s worse than anything I’ve heard in the whole time that I’ve been governor. The fact that this particular school in Baltimore City School system is failing that many kids is just outrageous.”
As the Examiner noted, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott claimed the problem stemmed from a lack of funding, but Baltimore is fifth out of America’s 100 largest school systems in terms of per-student spending, which places it higher than Chicago, Detroit, and Houston.
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