By Amy Simpson
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - After a year with most students learning from home, a government spending watchdog group says Baltimore City Schools spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying "hall monitors" during the pandemic.
“Approximately 25 hall monitors were paid about $700,000 dollars in cash compensation last year,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com.
Andrzejewski says his organization asked Baltimore City Schools for its 2020 payroll information.
OpenTheBooks.com says it then performed a financial audit on the numbers and the findings were reported in Forbes.
The group says it discovered 24 "hall monitors" were paid $698,639 dollars in 2020.
“This is a period where nine out of those twelve months, the halls -- they didn’t have students in the halls,” said Andrzejewski. “The halls were free from students because the schools were actually shut.”
This was just one discovery the taxpayer accountability group says it uncovered.
But this finding comes as millions across the country have lost jobs over the last year due to the COVID-19 economy.
Andrzejewski says spending like this within the Baltimore City School District points to taxpayer-funded jobs being largely insulated from pandemic unemployment.
“It shows the difference between the private sector during the pandemic and the public sector -- like our schools and our governments,” he said. “Government employees -- they got paid even if they were hall monitors in schools that had no students in the halls.”
On Thursday, FOX45 News asked Baltimore City Schools several questions, including:
Why were hall monitors paid during the pandemic when the majority of learning was happening virtually?
What were the job responsibilities of these hall monitors?
Baltimore City Schools responded to the inquiry late Thursday afternoon, saying the District is on Spring Break and media relations will be able to provide answers on specific duties next week.
City Schools added that some students did participate in in-person learning during the pandemic.
A spokesperson also said, via email:
...during the pandemic many staff, including hall monitors and bus drivers, were assigned to other duties including working at meal sites and Student Learning Centers.