RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It was a tough conversation in Tuesday night’s Richmond School Board meeting after Superintendent Jason Kamras proposed cuts to the central office to help the deficit.
Kamras said the first priority must be the students. He also said although the decision is hard, he wants to show the public the board is ‘good stewards’ with funds.
“If something is not directly serving our core mission, our teaching, our learning then we need to take a hard look at it and save where we can save,” Kamras said.
“If we do without function or a position, will that handicap us as we move forward?” board member Felecia Cosby said.
The board agreed something must be done but they want to make sure it’s the right decision.
“Let’s not be too hasty. I think it’s valuable to know what you are cutting. You don’t want to cut your nose and scratch your face,” board member Dr. Patrick Sapini said.
“Every decision we make, it must be in the thought of addressing every child’s needs,” board member Cheryl Burke said.
“I feel like we need a common definition. What is considered to be ‘central office?’” board member Elizabeth Doerr said.
Kamras did not discuss how many or what positions are being considered.
Kamras and other board members made it clear they want the city to step up and help as well.
Some remember the major staff cuts made in 2008-2009. Many say they don’t want a repeat of that, and the consequences it had inside the classrooms.
“We never recovered from that, it’s been challenging ever since,” Burke said.
Others thinking about the bigger picture and how it would effect families.
“Making cuts is never easy, we think about what is going on with the federal government and the shutdown,” chairwoman Dawn Page said.
Over the next couple of weeks, the school board will go into work sessions trying to laser in and figure out exactly what positions and programs should be cut.
There will be several opportunities for the public to weigh in and offer their feedback.