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Baltimore City Public Schools

District Partner 2004-present

ERS has partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) on a number of projects since 2004 to assess district data and practice and to support strategic decision-making in the areas of teacher professional development (PD), school funding redesign, transition to Fair Student Funding and in redesigning central office support of schools.

"ERS has been an invaluable partner. We would not have been able to move toward a fair, transparent and equitable way of funding our schools as quickly as we did if we had not worked with ERS as closely and strategically as we did."
-Dr. Andres Alonso, Superintendent

District Facts


Work Focus

2009-present: To inform BCPS’ efforts to rethink their approach to school turnaround and overall strategic resource opportunities given context of short-term stimulus funding and overall economic challenges.

2008: To continue modeling of BCPS “Fair Student Funding” initiative to help the district analyze and refine the system in year two of implementation; to help refine options under consideration for district central accountability system; and to support development, rollout, and strategic resource use training for innovative school support networks.

2007: To create a resource map and a decision-making support model to inform funding system redesign and implementation (Fair Student Funding) including corresponding shift of resources from central office to school. This work included training budget support teams in strategic use of resources before they went out to support school team budgeting.

2004: To assess the strategy behind professional development and instructional support spending and help the district focus investment in areas most likely to improve teaching and learning.

Findings and Outcomes

  • As a result of ERS’ work, BCPS redesigned its PD system, focusing efforts at the school level and adding significant amounts of time to the daily schedule for teachers to learn collaboratively from each other in their efforts to raise student achievement in every classroom.
  • The Year 1 per-pupil analysis and central spending analysis led to a complete overhaul of the funding system. The new system gives guidance, support and more power to resource allocation at the school level; creates greater transparency in use of resources; and has resulted in more equitable use of resources across schools.
  • ERS’ work has helped BCPS and the state determine funding levels for charter schools that reflect the student population and capture appropriate central costs.
  • ERS support of “Fair Student Funding” help the district implement changes that:
    • Cut central office spending
    • Kept more dollars at schools
    • Converted staff allocations to flexible dollars
    • Showed principals all dollars they have in school budget
    • Made the funding system transparent
    • Awarded resources more fairly based on academic need of students
  • Improved resource use in schools by replacing legacy “supervision” models with:
    • Standard-based accountability 
    • Enhanced support to principals
  • ERS support helped the district create option to devolve significant portion of Special Education resources to schools in year two of “Fair Student Funding.”
  • ERS developed framework and helped school support network implementation team to define roles and responsibilities for school support between distributed networks and central.
  • ERS developed and led two-day strategic resource use training curriculum for newly created network support teams.
  • ERS provided an analytic framework for the "Expanding Great Options" (EGO) team to use in defining their school turnaround strategy. In addition, ERS analysis of school capacity utilization and performance emphasized that much of the issue existed at the high school level and that there was some excess seat capacity in the system. This helped the EGO team to broaden their thinking, reconsider their initial hypothesis and gather additional information for analysis. In the end, the EGO team recommended a turnaround strategy that addressed turnaround needs of both middle and high schools and included several school closures.

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