Teachers rally at Richmond City Hall, seek more money

Posted at 10:59 PM, Feb 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-29 07:48:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A group of teachers rallied outside Richmond City Hall on Tuesday evening.

"We have not had a raise in four years, no cost of living increase, no step increase… we are just tired of it, and we`re ready to stand up and fight," said teacher Susan Shepard.

They want Mayor Dwight Jones and the Richmond City Council to give the school system enough money to make up its $23.8 million deficit.

A budget shortfall they claim is $11 million worse than last year.

"We are facing a situation where we don`t have enough paper for the copy machines," said Tom Hartman, a board member with the Richmond Education Association.

But, city council member Marty Jewell said the deficit that the school board claimed may be "overstated."

He said the Richmond School Board may have made mistakes calculating their budget numbers.

"I'm already realizing that," said Jewell. "I see areas of savings that have not been looked at."

Jewell also said Richmond City Council members just got the school board's budget yesterday.

Teachers who gathered to protest--of which there have been several organized this year already--said that they're not going to rest easy until council reviews and approves it.

"If we don`t find the funding, we're going to lose teachers, and we`re going to lose opportunities for our kids," said Wayne Ellegood, former President of the Richmond Education Association.