Greedy Administrators are the Real Reason Why Baltimore’s Education System is Crumbling | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Greedy Administrators are the Real Reason Why Baltimore’s Education System is Crumbling

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


The city of Baltimore’s schools are badly failing, despite spending more per capita than almost anywhere in the country.  To understand why, one needs only to look where the money is going: into the pockets of crooked public education administrators.

Baltimore pays its administrators more than anywhere else in the nation, ranking first among all school districts in major cities in the U.S.  Baltimore spends nearly three times as much as New York City per student and 20 percent more than the next closest school district, Boston.  One would expect stellar schools, good test results, and fully functional facilities with this level of funding. Instead, public schools in Baltimore have been plagued by a litany of issues under the tenure of these administrators.  For example, one-third of schools having zero students proficient in math, a lack of basic supplies and food for students, and broken heating systems in the winter in addition to other facility issues.  These issues are also prevalent in neighboring Baltimore County, where it was recently announced that a single consultant will be paid $250,000.

A massive amount of Maryland’s budget goes to Baltimore schools specifically, and an astounding $16,184 is spent per student, the third most spent per student in the nation.  Despite this, students in Baltimore are much less likely to succeed and most students are behind their grade level in reading and writing and often go on to find themselves behind their peers once they make it to college.

Despite these dismal results, Baltimore continues to pay six figure salaries to administrators, such as the superintendent who will be paid $298,000 this year.  These administrators are high level employees who do not participate in the classroom, yet are paid more than other administrators in the most successful school districts in the country.  In a city that just had its twelfth mayor resign, it is no surprise that money that is supposed to help children ends up in the pockets of a few powerful people.  

Many push for increased funding towards education as a solution, but history has shown that spending more money may only exacerbate the issue.  Taxpayers will not continue to trust the school system with more of their money when it is continuously pilfered through various fronts such as buying tens of thousands of copies of the mayor’s book.

Instead of introducing a larger budget that greedy administrators can waste, their pay should be severely reduced or withheld until conditions improve within Baltimore. Withholding funds has proven to be the only effective strategy in forcing corrupt Baltimore politicians to take action.  When Baltimore City and County schools neglected to install proper air conditioning and heating, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) refused to give the city its requested money until they made progress.  The school administrators eventually caved to the pressure and have begun to modernize the facilities of the schools.  While it is still a work in progress, it is certainly a better result than the status quo.   

When someone fails to do their job, they should be held accountable.  The example set by Gov. Hogan illustrates that the only way to grab the attention of rapacious administrators is to threaten their means of income, legalized theft from students who desperately need what little they have.

-- Blake Leonard

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