Region's school superintendents want more funding
NORFOLK, Jan 05, 2013 (The Virginian-Pilot - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A day after the governor declared 2013 the "Year of the Teacher" and unveiled a second round of K-12 education initiatives, South Hampton Roads superintendents criticized aspects of the plan and called for more funding for the state's public schools.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to grade public schools using an A-F system is "absolutely unnecessary," Virginia Beach Superintendent James Merrill said. Schools are ranked and classified enough as it is, he said.
Merrill's remarks were made Friday during the second regional public education summit. The audience of more than 300 included city and business leaders, educators and other community members.
The area's five division chiefs spoke about school improvement, finances, community engagement and other topics during the two-hour event, a fundraiser for the Norfolk Education Foundation.
Chesapeake Superintendent James Roberts called for better funding of public education at the state level.
"When we value something, we support it," Roberts said.
In recent years, the Chesapeake division has cut jobs, kept pay largely stagnant and delayed the purchase of buses and classroom equipment, Roberts said.
As for school safety, a hot topic since last month's school shooting in Connecticut, he said the division is getting no state help for the security positions already in place -- 11 school-based police officers and more than 80 "safety officers."
And while McDonnell has proposed a 2 percent pay increase for teachers, recognizing them takes more than just a salary bump, Roberts said, noting how many of his buildings need repairs.
"Teachers teach in these facilities," he said.
Hattie Brown Garrow, 757-222-5562, email@example.com
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