Hearing Held on Albemarle Superintendent’s Proposed Budget - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Hearing Held on Albemarle Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

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Albemarle County schools are facing one of the largest budget deficits in a long time. Thursday night, the public weighed in on the issue, with many asking the school board to support the superintendent's budget.

It's very clear that the school board has its work cut out. It has to try to figure out how to close a nearly $7 million budget gap. Superintendent Pam Moran is asking for $164.3 million to fund schools next year. That request is about $8 million more than last year and Moran says the jump comes from state mandates and low revenues.

In order to work toward balancing the budget, class sizes could increase, world languages could be at risk and nearly 66 full-time positions could be on the chopping block.

Many who spoke out at the hearing urged the board to take the budget as it is.

"As a parent, I'm asking you to keep class sizes as is, not cut programs, critical programs for well-rounded students and we need our teachers in our classrooms. Please support the budget proposal,” Kelly Tobler said.

But others want cuts to be made.

"I think that's the real false premise is that we need to keep getting more and more money for education to make it great,” said another parent, Michael Bastille. “Our schools are great. We don't need to increase funding; we need more initiative, more creativity.”

Some school board members are questioning the priorities in Moran’s proposed budget.

“Professional services and consultants, bottled water, travel, equipment leases, advertising, catering, material and supplies, meals for meetings - I think those things really should be scaled back dramatically,” said board member Eric Strucko.

Other school board members, like Steve Koleszar, hope the Board of Supervisors will help close the gap.

The school board will meet again next week to continue work on the budget.

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