Budget session set

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Suffolk School Board is asking for public input on the budget for next school year.

The School Board will hold a community input session on the budget for the 2012-2013 school year during its monthly meeting in the City Council chambers Thursday at 7 p.m.

During the session, citizens will be able to voice their concerns, comments and recommendations on the budget.

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Superintendent Deran Whitney said the school division’s main objective for the upcoming budget is to maintain the schools and programs to meet the division’s goals.

However, he said, the 2012-2013 budget faces a unique challenge in that the division has lost federal funding that had saved jobs in recent years, and it must now evaluate which positions must be cut.

“(Stimulus funds) and education jobs funding have mitigated these cuts, but that funding has ended, and we are now going to have to look at the positions funded through these programs and decide which ones cannot be funded now that the federal funds are over,” he said.

Whitney expects Gov. Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly to consider even more cuts to educational funding, which, he said, could have serious effects on the school division.

“Everyone who cares about our schools should be concerned about the potential new reductions in state funding for public education,” he said.

Whitney said he encourages people to share their opinions, because the schools’ success affects the greater community.

“These are our schools,” he said. “What happens in our schools affects all of us in the community.”

Prior to the input session, the School Board will give a presentation on the budget for those attending.

It isn’t necessary to sign up to speak at the community session, but anyone wishing to do so should arrive promptly at 7 p.m.