Staunton School Board Hosts Public Forums on Budget
The city of Staunton is still about two months away from signing off on its new school budget, but now is the time for parents and teachers to weigh in about which people and programs need to be protected.
Staunton, like many other cities and counties, is waiting to see the final school funding numbers from the state. Those numbers will help answer many questions.
Among the questions is the governor's proposed salary hike. It may only offer funding for some teachers, and leave the city to pick up the rest of the bill.
Staunton schools operate under a roughly $30 million budget that is likely to see another year of cuts. Superintendent Linda Reviea says that may come from retirements and resignations, rather than layoffs or cuts to programs.
But the school board wants to hear from all stakeholders about what should remain in the budget and what could be sacrificed.
"This is really to help us on the front end, to make sure the budget is reflective of our community's interests, priorities, because the school division is a reflection of the community. So it's important that we know what the community wants," said Reviea.
The Staunton School Board is hosting three budget public forums. The first took place Monday at 7 p.m. at McSwain Elementary School.
At the meeting, representatives of the Staunton Education Association and the Virginia Education Association urged the board to make compensating their employees the No. 1 priority.
"It may very well be time for the school board to look at what it's going to cost to provide a credible increase in salary for all your employees. Know what that number is first and then look at everything else," said Karen Olivares, with the Virginia Education Association.
If you'd rather share your school-budget views from the comfort and anonymity of home, Staunton has set up an online survey.
Reported by Tara Todd and Ken Slack.
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