School Budget Cut: Many voice concerns about tentative budget at Board of Supervisors meeting


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Washington County, Virginia leaders are coming to the end of their budget negotiations, and not everyone is happy. Many in the community are concerned about the proposed cut of more than $400,000 to the county school system.

Dozens of parents, teachers and students turned up to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday night, all eager to hear the fate of funds for the school system.

"If we are doing less than fully funding the budget, then we are doing less than what we can for our kids," said concerned parent, Jim Richmond.

Parents received a budget update from the school board detailing that a potential budget cut could threaten school programs. From arts and athletics supplies, to band uniforms, that all depend on local funds.

"I think it's important that we stay involved, that we don't stop here and build a better relationship," said concerned parent, Lindsay Price.

Richmond has a daughter in the third grade at Watauga Elementary School, he's worried about cuts to the schools art programs that his daughter loves.

"She understands why I'm here tonight, she understands why I'm spending my time to come and talk to the board of supervisors," said Richmond. "This is something that's important to me, because it's important to her."

It's not the first time this has happened, at the meeting people voiced concern about the school budget cut trend in the county.

If this budget is approved, cuts will add up to 1.6 million dollars in the past three years, but Board of Supervisor's Chairman Randy Pennington says several weeks ago they sent back around $211,000 that was a carry-over fund.

"Traditionally we ask that the school system put that into construction," said Pennington. "This year we said, with the shortfall, do what you think is best. Put it back in your general budget."

The school board budget was tentatively approved with the $408,000 cut, but Pennington says there still could be some changes before the final budget is approved at the end of June.

"There's a lot of things that we have to fund," said Pennington. "So we try to do the very best job we can do, and we'll continue to do that."

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