Schools lobbying for financial help

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The General Assembly will vote on the state budget by the end of the week and school systems across the state are doing whatever they can to lobby for the funding they need.

Late last week the Chesterfield school system decided to postpone the vote on it's budget a week so it could see what the General Assembly does first. This is just one of the last committee meetings before bills head to the floor and things are moving quickly.

"Unless you have someone here on the ground you won't know about it and something can slip through that can have an impact on schools," said Del. Jennifer McCellen.

That's why Chesterfield schools has someone like Debra Marlow in committee meetings the entire session. She's the system's government liaison.

Marlow says this year she and other school liaisons have focused more on stopping unfunded legislation than anything else.

"It save the pressure in these times when we are trying to strategically place staff and fiscal resources to not have to expend resources on something new," said Debra Marlow.

House bill 21-66 was Marlow's number one priority Monday. It ended up passing both the house and senate.

Now if the governor signs off on it, the bill will allow schools to postpone implementing new accreditation requirements for one year, helping to save money and man power. but all of this is bittersweet for Marlow.

As she works hard to help the school system. The looming 52-million dollar shortfall has eliminated her position. But she says she would rather go then see a teacher have to leave a classroom.

Marlow will turn her attention to the federal stimulus money by the end of the week. That's when localities will get a better idea from the General Assembly where the dollars will go. The Chesterfield school board is now expected to vote on the budget March third.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.