Jobs may be cut, go unfilled to close $11 million RPS budget gap

Posted at 1:25 PM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-23 13:36:30-05

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Yvonne Brandon's proposal is focused on closing an $11 million budget gap, which means dozens of jobs are on the chopping block.  

"I think they should look at other options," former school teacher Carol Turner said.  "I don't think we should sacrifice anything in education."

Dozens to hundreds of Richmond City Public School positions may have to be cut or go unfilled in order to make up the multi-million dollar deficit.  It's a proposal that carries too high a price tag for Carol Turner, whose grandchildren are part of the Richmond School system. 

"We're trying to build a community in Richmond and we need all the help we can get and so we just can't sacrifice education," Turner said.

The topic of education is near and dear to Turner's heart after spending 25 years as a teacher.  The life-long educator is concerned with the superintendent's budget plan to hold off on filling vacant positions, and to eliminate nearly 70 positions--the majority teachers--resulting in bigger class sizes with up to 24 students per room.

"That only hurts," Turner exclaimed.  "It'll just make things worse and we definitely can't afford to do that."

At the same time, the school board cannot afford to begin the next year strained financially.

"Clearly we've got to look under every rock and in between every pillow cushion for savings and efficiencies that we can then re-direct back into the classroom,"  Richmond School Board Chairman Jeffery Bourne said.

"I think we should spend everything we can pull together to educate our children," Turner said.

Time is of the essence because the school board only has until February 19, to vote on the budget proposal--which will go into effect July 1.