Editorial: Once they’re cut, good luck getting positions back

Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 10:31 am

The Hanover School Board mulled on Tuesday a budget plan that cuts 16 teaching positions. Tonight, they plan to adopt their spending plan.
We realize times are tough and budgets across the country are still reeling from the economic downturn, but reducing the teaching force would be a mistake.

Once those 16 positions are gone, it’s doubtful they’ll return. Doing so would mean a budget that asks for more than even funding, and, considering the conservative posture in Hanover government, it wouldn’t be likely to gain much traction.

Teachers are key to the success of students at all education levels. Reducing their ranks and asking the existing workforce to do more with less is a recipe for disaster, if not in the classroom, then at least in Hanover’s ability to attract and retain the top-tier talent that has helped the school system succeed.
Cut buses. Cut inefficiencies. Trim waste. Go paperless. There are other paths to a balanced budget other than going after the ones responsible for educating Hanover’s youth.

We do, however, applaud Superintendent Wilson’s budget maneuvering, which managed to save eight positions from the budget ax. But go further. Ask the board of supervisors to fund a budget that doesn’t cut teachers. All they can say is “no.” Then, it’s back to the drawing board. What happens if a budget goes forward that supervisors say doesn’t trim enough?

Based on rough estimates looking at the current year’s budget, one penny on the real estate tax levy of $.81 per $100 generated approximately $1.1 million. Five pennies would fully cover the shortfall.
What’s education worth?

O.M.G. Sign this bill

A bill that would make it illegal to text while driving is sitting on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.

He should sign it.

Digital gizmos of all sorts are a threat on the roadways. Instead of focusing on “10 and two” and merging traffic, drivers are tweeting, texting and reading email. Actually driving the vehicle has become a secondary activity.  Other states already have anti-texting-while-driving laws. Virginia should follow suit.

In Wednesday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, supporters of the legislation were cited as saying motoring texters are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.

McDonnell has said he believes existing blanket laws already address the issue. Shouldn’t there be a sense of urgency?

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