The School Board met collectively Thursday evening, January 27th for the first time to discuss the Superintendent’s proposed budget. This budget was criticized harshly by parents in a meeting the night before.
The budget is set for $58.6 million, about $3 million higher than last year.
One of the three million is going towards an increase in teachers' salaries. Vice Mayor Kevin Lynch says this is to keep competitive with other salaries in the region.
The part of the budget that fell under fire is a proposal to cut three physical education teachers and two guidance counselors and hire four coordinators. The purpose of the coordinators is to better the curriculum. But the School Board needs to decide if they really need more coordinators to do this.
Parents along with Lynch are concerned about the increase in bureaucracy and decrease in direct contact personnel. "Personally I would like to see a lean central office and focus the majority of our resources on the front lines of our personnel. These are the people that make the most difference in kids' lives from day to day," said Lynch.
But some parents, like Patrick Critzer who has a son at Clark Elementary, see this as the name of the budget game. "They have to make line–item cuts…if you cut one thing, then you have more to spend on another. But it isn't as simple as yes and no. You have to decide what stays and what needs to go," said Critzer.
Critzer along with School Board Head Dede Smith urge the public to share their opinions with the board. They can do this at a number of forums. The first forum is on Tuesday, February 1 at Charlottesville High School.