Richmond superintendent announces budget cuts

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Word of possible job cuts and furloughs for Richmond school employees.

The Richmond's school superintendent did not paint a pretty budget picture Tuesday night. In fact, last week the budget shortfall was $14 million, tonight it stands at $18 million and that number could still grow.

Richmond school's budget shortfall will reach the classroom next year.

Superintendent Yvonne Brandon is recommending classroom sizes increase by at least one student, eliminating 140 teaching positions. Brandon says most of the jobs would hopefully be cut through attrition and turnover.

"It's a combination of all of our vacancies and all of our turnovers across the district - that we're going to back fill people into those positions," said Brandon.

Though, many teachers may end up reassigned to new schools, grades or subjects.

She's also recommending every employee, including herself, be furloughed three days which would equal a savings of $900,000 each day.

The past president of the Richmond Education Association says furloughs he can deal with. It's the position eliminations his organization is worried about.

"If we reduce our staff we're going to lose all those good things that our students are getting. That's the main issue that we have," said Wade Ellegood, Richmond Education Association.

Brandon is recommending the elimination of the Spanish immersion program in two elementary schools, substitute teach pay would almost be cut in half. The budget for coaches of athletic programs would drop 20 percent. And with the city yet to complete its budget, Brandon worries the deficit could grow.

"Everything that I reported tonight may change," said Brandon.

If you want to let the school board know what you think of the budget plan there will be a public hearing on February 1 at City Hall. A budget plan needs to be passed and sent to the mayor's office by February 19.

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