Proposed school budget cuts in Petersburg

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

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – Nearly two dozen teaching jobs are on the chopping block in Petersburg -- and those who keep their jobs could face furloughs in the coming school year.

It's one of several proposed cuts to balance the school district's budget. The proposal is generating concern for some with loved ones in the school system.

William and Rozena Allen have nieces, nephews and grandchildren who attend public school in Petersburg.

"I want them to have a good education - to be able to learn so they can go out in the world and prosper," said Rozena Allen.

The couple also has a daughter who teaches at Walnut Hill Elementary School.

"They're buying school supplies for children and stuff like that -- they're hurting," said William Allen.

When the Allen's heard about the funding forecast for the upcoming school year -- they became concerned. Right now, the district is expected to lose $2.27 million dollars in funding.

"It's a struggle. It's not easy. We've had to make some real tough decisions," said the superintendent of school, Dr. Alvera Parrish.

To help bridge the budget gap, the superintendent of schools is proposing deep cuts, including the elimination of 25 positions -- 23 of which are instructional.

"We looked at those positions that were provided through stimulus - grant money funded positions as well," said Parrish.

Furloughs are also on the frontline for consideration.

"We're looking at 3 possible furlough days -- two for administrative and one for teachers," said Parrish.

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

"I think this is the worse budget year that I've ever seen and I've been in education for 30 plus years," said Parrish.

The district says it's working to ensure the proposed cuts will have minimal impact on student education.

The $47 million dollar proposed school budget could change. It will be presented at a joint meeting with city council and the school board next week.

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