Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow II 3B
11 February 2011
School Board Budgets
All across America, schools are being hit hard with a strict budget; Virginia, however,
seems to be hit the hardest. Tight school budgets even date back to 1991 where more than
twenty-five states handed out pink slips to about 25,000 teachers. In Massachusetts that same
year, they expected to have 3,000 fewer teachers and about forty students per class (Silver).
School budgets in 2010 and 2011 seem to result from the tough economy. When cities need
money to repair roads, build new buildings, and fund new projects, schools are neglected
because the cities needs the school system’s money to fund projects. Why are our local cities
taking the school’s money? Why aren’t they taking it from other areas of the city? Why is the
school board cutting important jobs? There is no reason why the city should be taking the
school system’s money as opposed to putting it towards non educational entities.
I had a personal experience with class overfill this year. In the past few years at Kellam,
it seems as if we have been losing teachers and staff due to recent budget cuts; and we do not
have the student population we had before. At the beginning of the 2010- 2011 school year,
many students at Kellam had scheduling issues; about seventy percent of students in my classes
had schedule errors because Kellam did not have enough classes or teachers. I am fortunate
enough to be working in a phenomenal school, Christopher Farms Elementary. Christopher
Farms is lucky enough to be fully staffed with smaller class sizes; however, only one class is
overfilled. Now it seems as if in Virginia Beach, class sizes have been equaled out and regulated
more. At Christopher Farms I have not heard much about class overfill or shortages.
However, Kindergarten had a position cut because of budget cuts, and there was not a need for
an extra teacher. Now one Kindergarten class has twenty five students which doesn’t seem like
a lot, but for a Kindergarten teacher it is. Also, one of the school’s inclusion teachers Ms.
Rodriquez was originally working with fifth and second grade inclusion students, but since the
second semester is just working with second grade due to class sizes.
Why are our local cities taking school’s money? In early 2009, Virginia Beach decided to
remove 8.8 million dollars from the school system’s budget, and the cities are putting that
money in the city’s budget to balance it out (Roth, “Beach”). In the 2010-11 school years,
Portsmouth City Public Schools budget is about 134.7 million, which is going down from last
year’s 148.9 million. One hundred and nine positions will be eliminated, including twenty-two
leading spots and thirty nine general professionals. However, the final budget plan was voted
on May 27, 2010 (Ross, “Your Letters”).
Opposed to the city taking the schools system’s money, why aren’t they taking it from
other areas of the city? The city is telling schools and tax payers that they are taking the money
to help fix roads, but what they are really doing is building new animal shelters and recreation
centers. Usually at the end of every year, whatever money is left over from the school year
goes back to the city (Roth, “Beach”). Some local schools do not have budgets in mind.
Churchland Primary and Intermediate schools will have a new 10,250 square foot gym added to
their school that will cost about 5.4 million to build this new edition. The vote was unanimous
by board members (Roth, “Your Letters”). However, many schools have cut out the air
conditioning in their schools because “it’s not in the budget.” In order to cool down, students
are told to walk up and down the halls (Silver).
The biggest question, why is the school board cutting important jobs? Virginia Beach’s
superintendent Jim Merrill sent a phone message to 84,983 staff and parents on May 4, 2010
telling them about the potential budget cuts. The school board has already written up a
proposal for 663.1 million dollar budget for the 2010-11 school year (Ross, “Superintendent”).
Local schools should not be eliminating 304 positions due to budget issues; instead the
city should be using their own funds. This problem is not only happening in Virginia Beach but
all around the country. Another school system eliminated forty-four special education
teachers. Those teachers are very important to schools because students need that additional
help. In the same district, schools are firing sixty-one instructional assistants, twenty-five
reading teachers, and several administrators. Now the pupil-teacher ratio will increase by one
In conclusion, I think cities need to begin to think wisely when it comes to where they
are spending their money, because schools should not be losing teachers in order to build new
roads. I also think that any money left over at the end of each school year should be given back
to schools so they can use it the following year and not on the city. I am personally very
worried about the budget cuts because I want to be a teacher, and I am very worried that as a
first year teacher, I will be one of the first ones cut when it is time to let teachers go.
Lizama, Juan Antonio. "Pay Cuts, Job Losses and Larger Classes/ Approved Chesterfield School
Budget Includes $36 Million Reduction." Chesterfield Observer [Chesterfield, VA] 28 Apr.
2010. Pro Quest. Web. 5 May 2010. <http://proquest.umi.com>.
Ross, Cheryl, ed. "Your Letters." Virginian Pilot [Virginia Beach, VA] 24 Sept. 2009. Pro Quest.
Web. 3 May 2010. <http://proquest.umi.com>.
Ross, Cheryl. "Superintendent Proposes Cuts to Positions Spending." Virginian Pilot [Virginia
Beach, VA] 23 Apr. 2010. Pro Quest. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://proguest.umi.com>.
Roth, Lauren. "Beach Council Discusses Plans to Take $8.8 Million from Schools." The Virginian
Pilot [Virginia Beach, VA] 4 May 2010. Pilot Online. 4 May 2010. Web. 5 May 2010.
Roth, Lauren. "Virginia Beach Eyes Schools' Savings to Plug Cash Gap." The Virginia Pilot
[Virginia Beach, VA] 4 May 2010. Pilot Online. 4 May 2010. Web. 5 May 2010.
Silver, Marc. "Parents to the Rescue: Budget Cuts Have Wounded Many School Programs, but
Volunteers Can Keep Some Alive." US News and World News Report 19 Aug. 1991.
Opposing Views Resource Center. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://find.galegroup.com>.