Charlottesville schools are getting a boost to help close the gap on a $1.7 million budget shortfall for next year. City Council is stepping up to help fill the deficit.
A majority of Charlottesville City Council agreed to grant the school board its $830,000 request Friday. But those who did not agree argued the school system is managing its money inefficiently.
"We said last year that it was one-time funding and now we have gone back on that," said Dede Smith, a Charlottesville city councilor.
Smith says she is surprised that a majority of council backed the school board's funding plea.
"We're back, you know, to the degree practically that we did last year again. It appears as if at least a large majority of it is one-time funding doesn't help the situation at all and I just feel that there has not been any fundamental change in the way that our school system operates fiscally," said Smith.
Council had already agreed to give the school board $1.9 million for next year.
Now they are tacking on another $830,000, making the total amount given close to last year's $3 million in one-time funding.
The school board and councilors in support of the boost say lack of funding at the state and federal level already has them facing $1 million in cuts.
"There's cuts everywhere from clerical to support to some teaching, some programs that affect teaching, but we're trying hard to obviously start from furthest out in the classroom," said Willa Neale, a member of the Charlottesville School Board.
"We've got all these perfect-storm issues that have happened over the last few years and I think that what happened in this room today is that council - a majority of councilors - agreed that education is one of the most important things we do as a council," said Kristin Szakos, a Charlottesville city councilor.
Smith says the issue just needs to be approached differently.
"We need to re-look at how we provide quality public education in a more efficient way," said Smith.
Charlottesville schools are scheduled to adopt this budget on February 28.
The groups also talked about forming a subcommittee with two city councilors, two school board members and administrative staff to go over the budget in more detail.
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