Portsmouth School Board approves budget cuts, 15 full-time positions eliminated

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Portsmouth School Board unanimously approved budget cuts Thursday evening.

The board released a statement about the cuts that affect 15 full-time staff positions and adjusted other positions.

The statement from the school board said:

Each year, the Superintendent and School Board assemble a budget that puts students first. This year was no different. We sought to improve technology in our classrooms, provide instructional support for kindergarten students, and expand our career and technical education program. We also desperately wanted to give our hard working teachers and staff a raise in order to keep up with the cost of living as well as to attract and retain talented staff.

But we rely on city funding. We pleaded with City Council to provide the money that our children, staff and schools need. Despite our advocacy, the City Council voted against our request.

Sadly, we’ll fall short of many funding goals this year due to a lack of support from the city. However, we value our staff and want to give a raise. But in order to provide the raise, we are forced to make painful cuts to 15 full-time staff positions as well as adjust other positions. We’ll also sever ties to the city’s Children’s Museum and shut down our planetarium program there. Also, we will have to close one preschool building and assign the children to other centers.

These changes will place additional strain on the school division, but we will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition.

However, this may not be the end of budget cuts. Without adequate city funding, we will have to continue to cut programs and reduce services each year. We fear this will hinder our progress, but we have no choice.

Moving forward, we will continue to advocate for school needs and do our best to convince city leaders to support public education.