January 20, 2014
We want the best teachers, the best teacher to student ratio, and neighborhood schools. But that costs money.
That's according to Albemarle County school officials that are staring down 6.7 million dollar shortfall. Like any of us on a budget, they cut back, as less and less money came in from Richmond. They made cuts in central office staffing and cuts in pay raises.
But this year, they are out of places to cut from....
Albemarle Schools Chief Operating Officer Dean Tistadt says if the school system had not done a lot of prudent things to reduce costs as much as practicable, the deficit would be a lot greater than it currently is projected to be.
Tistadt says they have already made many efforts to be cost effective.
"They’ve done about all they can do to control costs outside of schools. They've really held students as harmless from all these situations as they could. They haven’t increased class size, they haven’t cut programs, i don’t know they can continue that if they don’t get some relief to the 7 million dollar deficit. It would be my opinion they'll have to go into the classrooms and do something that would not be in the best interest of students and student achievement."
Despite the shortage, county school officials say they do not have a spending problem. In fact, they say they are spending less per student than they did back in 2008.
Why is there a deficit?
Tistadt says there are many factors.
"We've had enrollment growth continuing this entire time when we have had about a 5 percent increase in the number of students attending the school. We've had some mandates from the state that we pick up some costs that we did not used to incur."
In the past five years, they have had 37 million dollars less in state funding and a drop in employee turnover.