Possible reduction in funding, jobs at risk in Hopewell

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – The funding forecast for the upcoming school year is generating concern in Hopewell. The school division is expected to lose more than one million dollars in funding -- and that's on top of previous financial cuts.

If the proposed budget for the upcoming school year passes 1.3 million dollars in funding would be cut. That translates into cuts in jobs, programs and textbooks.

Like many other school divisions, Hopewell is facing a hefty reduction in funding.

"It will impact instruction, it will impact kids, it will impact staff," said Superintendent Dr. Winston Odom.

The superintendent of schools, Dr. Odom, recently released his proposed budget for the 2011-2012 school year. The outlook is alarming for students and staff.

"We may be forced in a position where we have to cut people as well as positions," Dr. Odom said.

The purchase of new textbooks could be delayed. Classroom programs are also on the chopping block.

"We're talking about some fine arts program - we're talking about areas were we don't have mandates," he said.

Here's a breakdown of the proposed school budget. There's a 1.3 million dollar loss in funds. Couple that with the 1.4 million that was cut last year. And that adds up to one major concern for parents like Tita Kalua'u.

"I'm not happy about it -- I'm really not," she said.

Kalua'u has three children in the school district.

"I want the best teachers possible for my girls," Kalua'u said.

According to the proposed budget, teachers would not receive a raise for the 4th consecutive year.

"Next year persons will have to assume additional duties and responsibilities once again without additional compensation and it's grossly unfair," said Dr. Odom.

Odom's proposed budget is based on the proposed budget by the governor.

Despite the possible funding loss, Odom says the district will be relentless in its pursuit of excellence. Again the proposed school budget could change. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for next month.

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