Details laid out for Richmond Public School cuts

Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-16 00:28:40-04

Richmond, Va. (WTVR) – Emotions ran high during a public hearing Thursday night at J.H. Blackwell Elementary school.

“Our children are our future,” claimed one parent frustrated by Richmond city school’s $23.8 million shortfall for the 2012-2013 school year.

The school board held the public hearing to get input on the budget shortfall. Dozens of people showed up.

If the Richmond city council doesn't give the schools the money, the school board will have to make cuts.

The council and Richmond public school superintendent, Yvonne Brandon recommended eliminating 138 teachers, 80 instructional aides, 49 custodians and 13 security guards, eliminate the Elementary Foreign Language program, and reduce contract lengths (assistant principal to 10 months; Guidance and Librarians to 9.5 months), among other things.

Those who attended the hearing were asked to rate the recommendations.

School board members tried to explain to dozens of parents, teachers and citizens why the school system needs the money.

Some of the reasons included higher health insurance premiums, and an additional $8 million dollar contribution to the Virginia Retirement System, and so on.

There were supporters at the meeting, but also critic--including Antoine Green, former CEO of Patrick Henry Charter School.

“Why do we need this $23.8 million?” I don't think it was explained in an effective manner in the presentation,” said Greene.

Another Richmond resident, Larry Olanrenaju said, “I think the power point

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would be better to understand if we knew what the key budget items are.”

This is one of five public hearings on the school’s budget deficit presented by the Richmond City School Board.