Colonial Heights City Schools started this budget season $1 million in the red. To make up some of that deficit, they have decided to cut summer school for first through eighth grade.
Wanda Kindervater has a third-grade granddaughter attending Lakeview Elementary School in Colonial Heights. She says her granddaughter has never attended summer school classes but thinks it’s a bad decision to remove the opportunity.
“Well I think if the kids don’t do good and they need to go to summer school they shouldn’t be gone with it,” she says.
On the surface it may seem students will have less educational opportunities. But that may not be the case says Superintendent Dr. Joseph Cox.
“We address a lot of those issues during the year,” he says. “Three years ago we went to block scheduling at our middle school and high school. That really gives us some opportunities during the day that we didn’t have before.”
More time during the day, combined with teacher availability after school hours, has made for less of a need for summer school.
Cox says the deficit of a million dollars comes from two main areas.
“One had to do with VRS, the Virginia Retirement System,” he says. “That is primarily due to a rate hike to shore up that fund. And the second for us was health insurance, and I think health insurance every year presents a challenge.”
This plan will only affect first through eighth graders, the city still plans to offer pre-K classes and classes for high schoolers that they may need for graduation.
The Superintendent says they’ve made cuts without cutting staff and that is something residents are happy to hear.
“I rather see summer school go rather than the teachers,” he says.
The savings will come to roughly $90,000. That savings will come from the reduction in staff for the summer and the materials needed for summer classes.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond