April 12, 2013
Dear Parent or Guardian,
I want to take this opportunity to inform you of some very important developments within our County that will directly impact your child.
Our school system operates solely upon funding received from three sources - federal funding, state funding and the local funding that we receive from the Board of Supervisors. In the last several years the school system’s budget has been cut dramatically. Since 2009 we have suffered a $3.7 million cut from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Most people do not know that over 80% of the school system’s budget goes to pay the salaries, insurance and related employee expenses. As result, whenever the school system suffers these cuts, we have no alternative but to reduce our staff. Since 2009 the school system has absorbed and eliminated 50 full-time positions.
The School Board and the Board of Supervisors have worked together to minimize the impact of these budget cuts on our children. The problem is that because of declining local revenues the Board of Supervisors has not been able to compensate for the funding loss from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The School Board recognizes the problems that the Board of Supervisors is facing and we have submitted a budget that is $729,208 less than last year’s budget. Unfortunately, there appears to be good information that additional significant cuts to your child’s education are coming.
The Board of Supervisors has considered and rejected a tax increase that would fund all operations, including education. We understand the belief that our taxpayers cannot afford to pay more. However, we believe that educating your children should be our noblest goal and that we should prioritize our spending accordingly. Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors has been directed by the local circuit court to construct a new courthouse and they have numerous other financial obligations, all of which have merit. On the other hand, if we as a community do not let it be known that we value education and that we are willing to support it financially, your child’s education will suffer.
Please understand that this is not just about preserving employment for teachers. This is about preserving education for your child. If the proposed cuts occur, instructional programs that are crucial for a quality education must be eliminated. Pupil-teacher ratios may increase to a level that will take us out of compliance with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s standards. We could easily be forced to close another high school. The potential budget cuts could significantly limit extracurricular programs including sports.
My job is to be an advocate for education, but if there is one thing that I have learned it is that without community support our educational system will suffer. I am requesting that you become involved with the educational community and the budgeting process and be a strong voice for our children. If you and I do not stand now and speak for the children, then soon it will be too late.
Thank you for your time and consideration on this important issue. If you have questions please contact your child’s school or your child’s teacher. If I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. I may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 276-926-4643.
Haydee L. Robinson,