|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