A school program both Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville supported will fall by the wayside this year due to funding issues. Federal funding for the Safe Schools/Healthy Students
program is ending June 30, and because of a budget deficit, the county can't fill the gap.
The federal grant began five years ago, and school officials say it was initially intended to be incorporated into local budgets after that period. But because of a more than $3 million budget deficit, Albemarle will be losing six of the counselors the program provided. The grant provided counselors and programs for students geared toward bullying prevention and mental health services.
Charlottesville City Schools says it has the funding to keep at least part of the program active. Charlottesville school leaders say they were able to provide for in-school services to be met, but all jointly funded community programs will end.
"It is sad. You know, we are able to support the in-school portion that would happen directly in our Charlottesville City Schools, but the larger community coordination and outreach towards parents or towards the community at large, I think that will be missed,” said Beth Cheuk, communications for Charlottesville City Schools.
That outreach included a parenting conference and in-school parent meetings about improving the school climate for students.
City schools were able to pick up the bill for a counselor at both Charlottesville High School and Buford Middle School. Schools will also keep a preschool program for at-risk children running at Greenbrier Elementary.