Perrymont Middle rallies to stay open

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The decision is in, property taxes in Chesterfield will stay the same despite strong recommendations to raise it 5 cents and possibly help its schools.

The increase would have bumped up the tax rate to a dollar per hundred dollars, evening out the overall revenue during this down economy and giving back some of the education cuts that were made.

But four out of five county supervisors agreed a property tax hike isn't the answer and the decision could mean a $15-million loss during the tax season.

One of the schools hoping to recap some of the losses from the tax hike was Perrymont Middle School. The proposed budget calls for the alternative school to shut down for good. If the general assembly passes the current budget, Perrymont students will be forced back to traditional schools.

"For all these children who are moving up that have nowhere else to go," said mother of student, Amy Bollinger, "all these children who are in middle school that are failing or struggling having trouble, Perrymont saves them," she said.

Perrymont Middle teacher, Pat Campbell, the news has been heartbreaking.

"Great sadness of course, but right now, it is anger," said Campbell. "How dare you take this opportunity from our student in this county," she said.

Campbell said when the announcement was made, the administration reassured her, the students will be served well back in their home schools

"That is so totally not correct," said Campbell. "Our students do well with us because we have small classes, they wear uniforms so there's no distraction, gender grouping which is excellent, gives the girls and the boys the opportunity to be more expressive," she said.

The Chesterfield NAACP released a statement, urging county leaders to reconsider Perrymont Middle's future. There will be a public hearing about the county budget on March 24, with the final budget approval in April.

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