School Board and City Council Discuss Budget Proposal

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

January 20, 2006

The Charlottesville School Board met with City Councilors today to discuss a budget proposal. School Board members and City Councilors spent hours reviewing the acting superintendent's 2006 budget proposal that calls for nearly $62 million.

City Councilor Blake Caravati said the proposed budget was well put together and clearly reflects the board's goals and priorities, but one thing in particular has him concerned.

"It's depressing, however, when it comes to money because the budget is well over a $3 million increase from last year's budget."

Another issue of concern is class size. Due to a decline in enrollment, the division now has one of the lowest teacher-student ratios in the state.

"We're right in the top ten every year, and that's important, but the real question is what type of results do we have to show for that, and that's the real struggle of public secondary education."

Some class sizes are so small, they might not be sustainable. The budget proposal has the school division losing 14 and a half teachers and seven teaching assistants.

School Board Chair Julie Gronlund says it's unlikely that anyone will lose their job.

"We have 50-60 teachers every year who leave the system, so what we would do is simply not fill 14 positions. We wouldn't actually be getting rid of people."

Right now the budget proposal is in its preliminary stages. The school board won't present a final version to City Council until May.

"We'll all look at this together, work together, and hopefully come up with something that works for all children," said Gronlund.

Today's meeting was only for informational purposes and nothing is final, so if you'd like to give input about the budget, you can certainly do so at the next public hearing on February 2.

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