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Education Cuts: You Get What You Voted For

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 11:40:28 AM EST

"You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members."  - Mahatma Ghandi

The Roanoke Times had an eye-opening article today on the impact on education in our area of Virginia of Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to slash three quarters of a billion dollars from public education state funding over the next two years.

School boards statewide know that they have to look at shuttering schools, letting teachers go, postponing necessary maintenance, and slashing the instructional program to make up for the loss of revenue from the state.

Meanwhile, McDonnell's first response to his cuts in educational funding is a meeting in Richmond with students from "virtual schools" - kids who "go to the school" over the Internet - touting that as a great "advance" in education.

You know, you would think that the parts of the state that voted overwhelmingly for this guy will now see the cost to be paid for four years, but I doubt that. Any time anyone mentions any sort of tax increase, no matter how small, these people act as if they are being asked to live on the street and beg for food.

Education in my area of Virginia is going to be especially hard hit, at a time when southwest Virginia also has some of the highest unemployment in the Commonwealth.

Elaine in Roanoke :: Education Cuts: You Get What You Voted For
In Bedford County, the shortage of money is already causing citizen controversy. According to the Roanoke Times, Valerie Detamore, president of the Thaxton PTA, said the board should not close any schools but should instead make smaller cuts in all areas. "If they can cut a little bit from a lot, they can come up with the same amount of savings."

Actually, Mrs. Detamore, that is not true. School budgets aren't composed of equal fiscal parts. The bulk of the money in any school budget pays the people delivering instruction - the teachers - and those who support that effort. Deep cuts in education funds always mean job losses and possible school closings.

There is no way that "a little bit" cut from each budget category can possibly make up the $9.5 million that Bedford County must cut from its school budget.

Superintendent Douglas Schuch warned that McDonnell's proposal will force the board to look for even more areas to cut than they already have. "We may need to cut deeper to make the budget this year," he said. Schuch had already proposed eliminating 124 full-time positions, including instructional ones, and closing two elementary schools, Thaxton and Body Camp.

Bedford County voted for Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds, 77% to 23%. You reap what you sow.

The $730 million in additional cuts McDonnell unveiled this week mean about $10.1 million less in state aid for Roanoke County, according to funding estimates provided by the Virginia Education Association.

"We are devastated," said Roanoke County Superintendent Lorraine Lange. "In the past, we have been able to shield the classroom, but there is no way when the majority of the budget is personnel that we are not going to have to lay off...teachers."

Roanoke County voted for Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds, 68% to 32%. You reap what you sow.

The Virginia Education Association projects Roanoke City's public schools stand to lose $10.3 million in state funding. School board Chairman David Carson said the cuts would be a tough blow to a division that already has closed four schools, privatized transportation, overhauled attendance zones, frozen teachers' salaries and reduced staff by 88 positions.

"We have cut the fat out of this system, and we are now into the bone," Carson said. "The question that remains is, how much bone will the state force us to cut?" Twenty-four of the city's 25 schools met standards for state accreditation last year - the highest number in the division's history. Carson said he fears the fiscal impact will impede that progress. He's absolutely right.

(Forget "No Child Left Behind." McDonnell and his cronies in the GOP believe in leaving as many children behind as necessary to stave off any kind of revenue increase - tax, fee, whatever.)

Roanoke City barely went for Creigh Deeds over Bob McDonnell, 52% to 48%. To all those Democrats who stayed home in Roanoke: You reap what you sow.

In Montgomery County, which stands to lose about $6.7 million and is already facing about a $5.5 million reduction from its previous budget, school officials have been too busy dealing with fallout from the collapse of the Blacksburg High School gymnasium roof to examine the latest impacts, said interim Superintendent Walt Shannon.

Recovering from that catastrophe will be further hampered by McDonnell's additional budget cuts.

Montgomery County voted for Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds, 55% to 45%. You reap what you sow.

Franklin County Superintendent Charles Lackey said the division faces a deficit of more than $9 million over the next two years. Like districts across the state, McDonnell's latest round of proposed cuts exacerbated an already grim fiscal outlook in that county.

"It makes me wonder if the governor really values K-12 education," Lackey said. Well, DUH... McDonnell has never made a secret of his love for private schools, home schooling and charter schools.

Franklin County voted for Bob McDonnell over Creigh Deeds, 69% to 31%. You reap what you sow.

Salem stands to lose $2.3 million in state aid. Salem, home of Del. Morgan Griffith, majority leader of the House of Delegates, went for McDonnell 67% to 33%. Salem always votes Republican, so they must like what they will reap every election.

It's time for the Democrats in the State Senate and the people at the Democratic Party of Virginia to put a face on the budget put out by the McDonnell administration and the Republicans in the General Assembly. That's what a "responsible" minority opposition should do. It does not have to compromise the principles it is supposed to have and simply "go along to get along."

This proposed budget will hit hardest those least able to deal with it. McDonnell is balancing a budget in a time of crisis on the backs of our children, the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill, the weakest members of our society. It's unconscionable not to point that out...over and over.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mahatma Ghandi

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Perhaps virtual schools deserve
virtual taxes.

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

And virtual "support" for the guv

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

[ Parent ]
he wants our citizens to be uneducated, poor, uninsured, hungry, unemployed and homeless?

Is that the plan?

a virtual governor.

Hey, There's an Idea!
We might as well have a "virtual governor." The one we have now runs from every problem he said he would solve...or he hides what he wants done until it's too late for anyone representing the real people to lobby for their interests.

Sunday is the day both houses have to pass their budgets. So, the Wednesday before that date, Gov. Wimpy comes out with this set of terrible cuts.

A "virtual governor" just might be better than what the voters put in Richmond last November.

[ Parent ]
he's such a clever guy.

[ Parent ]
Poor little Guv
He is just being realistic, faced as he is with this horrible "shortfall" from Obama's Recession. The pampered low-class brats can walk to school if they are so dead set on getting a "public" education. When I was a whippersnapper I had to walk miles in rain, snow, sleet, and uphill both ways.

Do Democrats offer a better plan, by the way? If the Guv gave up his aircraft and his chef, how much would that save? Or re-closed the re-opened rest stops? If the state raised the income tax as Kaine suggested, would that cover the school cuts?

I still say, call Richard Cranwell in person, (and maybe Senator Saslaw etc. as well---- don't screw around and waste time with hired flunkies like poor Don Marks) send him an old-fashioned telegram since the DPVA is sort of old-fashioned, and demand a full page ad in the Richmond T-D and in other state newspapers, and offer to make a donation to pay for the ads. Blast the Guv in the ad just as you have done so well with facts and figures here in your diaries.

The last press release listed on the website of the DPVA is from November 13, announcing the election results for the party leaders in the General Assembly.

There is absolutely NO page for issues, what this party stands for, what the party's position is on the budget, etc.


De-funding public education
the more I consider the budget and education, the more convinced I am that Bob McDonnell and his minions have every intention of de-fnding public education by baloney tactics: a slice at a time.

There is an unbelievable hostility toward government's running schools open to all citizens; it comes from libertarians and most of the conservative's elitists, who imagine that public schools utterly stifle creativity and propagandize little Johnnie to love the state. They say parents should do the education thing. It plays into the basic anti-intellectualism of the core Republican voter and Tea Partyer, IMO.

The intent to close down public schools is also an indication, I think, that major corporations no longer need a lot of educated employees, just a barely literate entry level (if that) to fill the low-level jobs. Robots can run the factories, a lower elite class can manage them, and innovation and top management will be the province of the top elite, the ones whose parents can afford to send their children to private schools (or have private tutors) and to private universities.

The link below is to a well-thought-out, mostly libertarian attack on publicly funded schools and government in general; sounds like TeaParty Republican. It strikes me that auch a dissolution of society must serve the interests of the global corporate giants, since it will leave the average citizen utterly helpless vis a vis the corporations:

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