Bath County School Employees Speak Out In Support Of The Schools’ Proposed Budget
Warm Springs, VA – Bath County school employees speak out in support of the schools’ proposed budget.
The public hearing on the county and school budgets was held at Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting and a number of teachers, administrators and parents came out to show support of the proposed school budget.
The proposed budget for the Bath school system, as advertised, is about $9.9 million dollars, which includes a $790,000 increase over this year’s budget. At a recent Supervisors budget work session, Supervisor Claire Collins said she had heard from constituents asking that the school system explain how all their money is used. Supervisor Collins said parents she spoke with felt the school system did not prepare their children for college or work. At that meeting, Supervisor Collins said since she had been asked those questions about school funding, she too wanted the answers.
School Superintendent Sue Hirsh spoke during public comment Tuesday night, saying the proposed school budget was more than the school board wanted it to be. She explained the increase included funding for changes in Virginia Retirement System rates, funding for a salary for a full time principal at Millboro Elementary, more money for rising fuel costs and funding for a raise for employees.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, twelve people spoke during the public hearing. Most spoke in favor of the schools funding increase. Teachers, administrators and parents cited the successes’ of Bath students in band, academics and vocational programs. Supervisor Claire Collins read an email from Bath County High School teacher Lisa Hamilton. Hamilton said if students aren’t prepared by Bath County schools, it’s due to their lack of work ethic.
Hamilton also said that teachers need a raise or at least respect for their hard work. During the public hearing, a couple of speakers questioned the increased school funding. Jay Trinca of Bacova said with the increase in funding, it will cost close to $19,000 per student in Bath, which would make Bath one of the most expensive school systems in the state. Another speaker said he had mixed feelings about the school budget; he said he appreciates the schools, but asked if the schools were that bad because there were requests for cameras on buses and in the buildings and discussion about placing a sheriff’s deputy in the schools. School Board member Amy Gwin responded saying that the schools were not that bad, but there are safety concerns since staff can’t monitor all areas at once.
County Administrator Matt Walker explained that choices still need to be made on the budget. The county has a reserve fund of about $6.75 million and money is going to have to come from that to balance the budget.
The Bath Board of Supervisors will vote on the county and school budgets and on tax rates in a meeting on Tuesday May 15 at 7 o’clock at the courthouse.