Charlottesville City Schools Talk Budget & Funding Gap
The Charlottesville School Board is facing a tough budget battle with $4 million in the hole. Now, drastic measures are being put in place to break even.
Tuesday night's budget meeting is one of four set to happen at individual schools in Charlottesville. The board got its first round of input from families at Burnley-Moran Elementary School Tuesday night.
The line-by-line details of the budget aren't looking good. In the worst-case scenario, Charlottesville City Schools could face a $6.5 million shortfall in the coming year.
Ned Michie with the Charlottesville City School Board said, "That's a very big hole that we're already in. And we're struggling to figure out how we're going to fill that."
State cuts to education funding takes $4 million from the division. If Delegate Rob Bell's state Composite Index Bill passes, that number jumps $2.5 million. In the end, almost 10 percent of the budget could be on the chopping block.
The school board and city council are discussing a number of options, which include cutting more than 25 positions, increasing classroom size, and closing an elementary school to save money. Money set aside for a school reconfiguration plan may also be used to fill the gap.
"If we get cut to beyond the bone, which is what would happen, we have to shrink back the core services," Michie said.
City council is seeing how much extra money can be given to the schools, and talk of a tax increase is also being discussed.
Charlottesville City Councilor Dave Norris said, "You have to put everything on the table when you're looking at a budget. You have to look at it from top to bottom."
Kate Bennis, a parent, said, "It sounds like the cuts are going to come mostly from things that make the school very attractive to a lot of the parents and the families. And it sounds like the cuts are in all of the arts and all of the social services and all of the special education and gifted education programs."
Superintendent Rosa Atkins has not presented her official budget yet - just the numbers on deficits. She says a revenue shortfall is the reality, but it's very difficult to cut programs that impact employees, students and parents.
Click here for a complete list of when and where you can sound off on the budget. It also includes a timeline of when the final budget will be approved.
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