Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Goings On

Last night I attended the Clark Elementary School PTO Budget Meeting. This was a PTO meeting that was open to the public for discussion on the budget. Mr. Gillespie, the Finance Director for the schools, did a presentation on the current budget situation. The numbers remain bleak for the schools- we have a $1.33 million dollar deficit, largely as a result of a significant decrease in state funding over the past four years.

Dr. Atkins noted that she had created a list of about $5 million dollars in cuts that the School Board would consider at its February 2 work session. The list likely includes many draconian cuts that will quickly be taken off the list for consideration.  I remain open to comments and suggestions from the public about cost cutting measures we should consider.  Also here is a list of events in the school system- the budget meetings at PTO meetings are listed on this calendar, as well as work sessions, community meetings, etc.

One opportunity to tell the School Board your suggestions/thoughts on any topic is on January 17th at 7:00PM in Jackson Via's Media Center. I do hope you will attend to let us know your thoughts on the schools even though the Daily Progress' headline "No Agenda Set for Charlottesville School Meeting".
I appreciate the Progress writing an article about the Community Meeting, I hope some people will come out for it. At the last School Board meeting, I suggested including the School Board in the City Council's neighborhood meetings. I hope that works out for our next community meeting. I know how difficult it is to get out to meetings,  but I would appreciate hearing from Charlottesville people, so if you can make it, please do.

One issue not on the agenda for the last night's meeting but clearly on peoples' minds is school violence and the issue of arming teachers or having armed School Resource Officers (SRO) in the elementary schools. I encourage people to contact their state legislator with their thoughts on arming teachers or SROs in the elementary schools. The Governor's Task Force is meeting to discuss the issue. Dr. Atkins has met with the Chief of Police and other leaders to discuss Charlottesville's emergency preparedness plan. Schools are reviewing their emergency preparedness plans and doing drills. As I explained to my children, the emergency preparedness drills are designed to make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. I want to thank all of the teachers, principals, and other school staff who work hard everyday to provide a safe environment for our children to learn.  These are enormous responsibilities and our school staff "bring it" every day. Thank you. 

I know we will be hearing more from the Governor, the Task Force, our local police and constituents. Please feel free to email any thoughts you may have on the subject (or any subject for that matter) jennifer @ jennifermckeever . com

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