The Richmond school board meeting Monday night was packed with parents, teachers and school employees. The crowd pleaded with the board to drop many of the budget cuts proposed by the superintendent.
"It's not what you can't do. It's what you will do. And that's what I challenge you to do. What will you all do?" asked one mother of two.
The superintendent aims to close an $11.6 million budget deficit. The plan would slash 65 teacher positions, and outsource 500 employee jobs including bus drivers, and security, and custodians.
"You do so much other stuff besides clean. In November, I didn't stand in line for three hours to vote for you all to take my job away from me. I voted for you all to hope that you would better my life," said one custodian to the board.
Bus drivers stressed the importance of a close-knit relationship with the students they interact with every day.
"Outsourcing would take away our direct connection with students and parents," said one driver for Richmond Public Schools.
Another major concern was the possible consolidation of some schools. That notion was shot down by last year's board. However, talk has been circulating of once again considering the rezoning issue.
"We shouldn't be talking about closing anybody's school," said the mother, with her children by her side. "Are we talking about cutting the budget for the schools? That makes no sense, because we're cutting the funds for the schools."
No teacher's in the superintendent's plan are slated to be laid off. There would be no new hires or refilling of positions. It's also anticipated that the majority of school employees would keep their jobs, if they were outsourced to a private company. However, their benefits would change.
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