Charlottesville School Board Worked Through Tension

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

March 30, 2005

It's no secret there is tension among the Charlottesville School Board. That tension showed during the budget session on Wednesday, March 30, but despite their differences the meeting wound up to be quite productive.

The big issue is whether the proposed budget should go towards increasing teacher salaries by at least 4.5%. Some city councilors and school board members view the proposal as a way to increase teacher morale who as of now start at about $36,000 a year. The recent tension between school board members, however, has some councilors not so sure how well that money would be handled.

"That the tax payers dollars that we give to the school system is going to be effectively and efficiently used, at this point I still question that because of the leadership of the school board," said Blake Caravati, a City Council member.

Recently, some parents, teachers, and school board members had questioned who should or shouldn't be on the school board. During the meeting the school board worked to see past those issues, instead focusing on how to bridge the achievement gap.

"If we are going to move our school division forward, it's going to take the leadership of city council, from myself as superintendent, as well as from board members and the community," said Scottie Griffin, Charlottesville Schools Superintendent.

Still, councilors like Blake Caravati questioned whether the school system promotes a healthy working environment for teachers.

"We're the people that are spending the tax payers dollars, and until I get comfortable that that situation is going to be addressed forthwith, then I will seriously question whether I will support the proposed budget," said Caravati.

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