Where will schools make the big cuts?

“This will affect every one of us in this room,” Keller told about 300 people, many of them teachers, who had gathered at the Central Elementary School auditorium.

The meeting was called after the supervisors turned down a request Wednesday (Oct. 17) for an additional $300,000 to run the schools. The board had also turned the schools’ request for about $600,000 last month.

The majority of the supervisors believe the schools have enough money to operate properly if the money is used efficiently. Keller and school board members disagree and at one point planned to not open the new high school in order to save money.

Keller said a survey would be sent out to teachers asking which money-saving options they would prefer and that a community forum is planned for Monday (Oct. 29) to hear the public’s opinion on any cuts. The school board would then vote at its Nov. 7 meeting on which options to implement. The cuts would go into affect Jan. 1.
The options included:

  • Operating the schools for only four days a week which would save over $150,000 but would mean no sports or practices could be held on that closed day. Closing the schools would also send parents seeking day care for younger children.
  • Furloughing employees. Each day would save about $108,000.
  • Eliminating all spring 2012 Virginia High School League sports which would save about $104,000. A total of 480 students participated last year in 11 activities.
  • Closing Columbia Elementary School which has 119 students enrolled and eliminate its 12 staff members to save about $375,000.
  • Closing Cunningham Elementary School which has 191 students enrolled and eliminate its 12 staff members to save about $465,000.

A number of other options were offered including eliminating some part time or full time positions — though the school might then not be compliant with the state’s Standards of Quality requirements – eliminate the pre-kindergarten program and the alternative education program or not provide student transportation to school.

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