School Budget Doesn't Do Enough

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

Superintendent Scottie Griffin's first budget was shot down by parents and the School Board because they thought it wasmisguided by wanting to eliminate physical education teachers and guidance counselors in return for more administrators.

Her new budget will not eliminate these positions, but some others instead. In addition, the new version states no more administrators will be hired, andalternatively, three existing positions will receive a stipend.

City Councilor, Blake Caravati, thinks the budget is an improvement upon the first. "It is much more responsive to the parents and principals. That's very heartening because the first budget was not responsive," he said.

But Caravati said radical change is needed to address a problem that has been plaguing Charlottesville-the achievement gap. He thinks the solution starts at the bottom, not the top, e.g. the central office, and will take many years.

Parent Bob Roach agrees that the budget will not do a enough to fix the achievement gap. He advocates programs that work with families and encourage people to go to PTO meetings. Oftentimes the voices heard at PTO meetings and School Board meetings aren't of parents whose kids are falling through the cracks.

"I don't think this will solve the problem on the achievement gap and I think that is going to take the whole community not jus the School Board and staff. I think it's going to take a major effort," said Roach.

But this major effort can't begin until the direction of the School Board changes. As of late, the superintendent has been charged with not working with others, and thoughts are that the School Board Chair also follows this trend.

Roach likened the situation to a ship leaving the dock, and said it can't steer in the right direction until everyone is on board.

"Dr. Griffin is the captain, the board her senior crew, and that ship left the dock without its crew and passengers, the parents and children. You've got to bring people on board," he explained.

Caravati is hopeful the ship won't leave the dock empty.

"We are expressing our disgruntlement with the direction the leadership of the School Board has taken. And hopefully it will change on a dime-that [it] will focus on children, the professional staff, not the administrators, and the teamwork that is required from everyone," he expressed.

Caravati and the other councilors will get a chance to review the budget March 7th.

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