Albemarle Supervisors Hold Final Hearing on School Budget
March 27, 2013 10:48 PM EDT
The current school funding situation in Albemarle County means at least $600,000 in cuts - and that number could go up.
While the budget covers all aspects of county government, the fight came down to taxes and school money.
There was a less-than-stellar turnout Wednesday evening for Albemarle's final hearing on the budget. But those who spoke out had quite a fight in them.
One speaker, Charlotte Hoge, stated "It's the same old song I've heard for years."
"Our obligation as a community is to our children," said teacher Tracy Allio.
Supervisors have proposed a tax rate increase by four-tenths of a cent, which would cut the school division's $1.2 million budget shortfall in half.
"We cannot continue to fund and fund and fund and fund and fund without a stronger effort to make difficult cuts," said Carole Thorpe, a member of the Jefferson Area Tea Party.
There was an even split between those speaking on each side. Those against a tax bump said they're already taxed enough and a yearly school division budget surplus doesn't help the cause.
"What about that overage? Year after year - I've been here 12 years - and every year there's overages in the school budget. But there's a parade in front of you. More money, more money," said Jim Stern, a member of the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance.
School leaders say if they have to cut a half-million dollars from the budget, nine teaching positions will likely be on the chopping block from the middle and high school, as will cuts to programs and services for at-risk students.
"Your investment in education has been money well spent," said school board member Diantha McKeel.
Supervisors will have the final say - though they too are split at this point.
The tax rate will be set and the budget will be adopted on April 3.
Albemarle Supervisors Hold Final Hearing on School BudgetMore>>
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