Deep cuts proposed for Richmond Public Schools - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Deep cuts proposed for Richmond Public Schools

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

More deep cuts are proposed for Richmond Public Schools. The school system is facing an $11.6 million budget shortfall for next year. Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon  is aiming to eliminate 65 teacher positions, and out-source employees in three other departments.

Paying for teachers, school bus drivers, custodians, administration and security creates most of the cost for Richmond Public Schools, according to the school system's chief operating officer, Andy Hawkins. The superintendent hopes to save money by streamlining these positions.

"With 80 percent or more of our budget made up of staff, salaries, and benefits, then you don't have many places to go to bridge that gap," said Hawkins.

The proposal, introduced at a school board meeting Tuesday night, would drop 65 teacher positions through attrition. Administrators don't anticipate any layoffs. However, they say there will be no new hires or refilling of slots. This means larger classes are inevitable.

"We'll be going to the maximum (number of students in class) allowed by law," said Hawkins.

The president of the Richmond Education Association, Angela Dews, says a packed classroom would severely impact students.

"You're undermining the success Richmond has had with our classes," said Dews.

The plan also calls for outsourcing transportation, support staff and security departments to private companies. More than 500 employees would have to reapply for their jobs, and could make less money.

"Benefits and salary would change," anticipated Hawkins.

However, the majority of these employees are expected to be rehired.

Opponents are already pushing for school officials to find the money elsewhere, before slashing teacher positions.

"Our children deserve more funding… from the city side, from the state side…I believe there is money. It's the priorities you set for how you allocate money," continued Dews.

The school board needs to approve the budget before any cuts to go forward.

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