Parents, teachers question where money goes

Published 10:21 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

After a meeting with City Council members, parents and teachers at Mount Zion Elementary School want to know where the money allocated to the school system is going.

Four City Council members and one School Board member attended Tuesday’s parent-teacher association meeting at Mount Zion. Councilmen Charles Parr, Robert Barclay, Jeffrey Gardy and Michael Duman, and School Board member Linda Bouchard, attended the meeting to hear from the attendees and pass on information.

Councilman Charles Parr indicated the city may not be able to provide the school system with the additional funding the School Board is requesting.

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“If they don’t give us what we’ve asked for, we will have to go back and re-address the budget,” Bouchard said at the Mount Zion PTA meeting.

The school system has cut the budget down as much as it can, Bouchard said. Without this funding, the school system will be unable to fund keeping the two schools open.

“When we give the School Board their money, they are the ones who guide and choose where it goes,” Parr told the parents. “We don’t keep up with what they do with it.”

“We as the city have been cutting and looking for efficiency on our end, and we have not always seen that on the school side,” Parr said.

City Council members pointed out that half the city’s annual budget goes toward education.

As real estate values drop, the city has less money coming in, the councilman said. “Basically, we have to have the money,” Parr said. “This market is wackeydoo.”

“The money is shrinking down,” Barclay said.

The councilmen said that they try to respect the school system’s requests every year, but they question where the money goes.

“Some of the cuts could be made up top instead of cutting from our child’s education,” parent Angie Blanton said.

“They brought up a lot of good points,” said Germane Benjamin, Mount Zion parent. “The money is definitely not being appropriated to the right funds for education.”

One concerned parent, Dean Adams, made suggestions for cuts from the high school budgets. “I think if you are going to cut something, then it should be across the board,” Adams said.

Blanton is concerned that many of the schools are already nearing capacity and the city is still growing. She hopes that the city and the School Board will make decisions that will be good for several years.

“Are you going to say don’t come to Suffolk because we don’t have room for them in our schools?” Blanton said. “The city needs to look at growth, and education is a big part of it.”

“Stop shuffling our kids around,” said Nichole Hamilton. “I’m tired. My daughter has been moved around too much.”