Success aside, schools face shortfall

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Despite their success on improved test scores and dropout rates, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) face a large shortfall.

If a deal to avoid across-the-board cuts is not reached by Friday, the government may not be able to helps schools like VBCPS close multi-million budget shortfalls. VBPCS is facing a $15.9 million shortfall for school year 2013-2014.

VBCPS Superintendent Dr. James G. Merrill held a State of Schools Address Wednesday.

"We're doing good. We had a good school year last year, same this year, and we're looking forward to the future," school board chairman Dan Edwards said.

Document: VBCPS budget plan


Merrill said the district outscored others on test scores, has improving dropout rates, and increasing numbers of students going to college on scholarships. However, he said inadequate funding is a "great white shark in the water looming near."   Although sequestration isn't anticipated to take a huge chunk of school funding, Merrill called it yet another hit.   "We will lose some funds, not huge amounts, and we'll have to make adjustments to compensate for that," Edwards said.   That translates to positions cut, materials not purchased, and contracts not taken.     Parents say they're willing and ready to fill in the gap.   "We have to be very creative about how the community steps into the gap to get more resources that aren't available," grandparent Tina Lea said.   Currently, Virginia is 38th in the nation for spending on education from kindergarten through twelfth grade.   Merrill said direct aid to public education is down $636 million since five years ago.


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