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Hanover braces for school cuts to close $5 million shortfall

HANOVER, Va. (WTVR)–Another school system looking at a budget gap is Hanover County. The system is looking to trim five million dollars.

Tuesday the Hanover School Board got an earful from parents and teachers urging members not to cut after-school activities or cut into teacher’s extra time with students.

“We’re picking at bones now and it has to stop,” said teacher Charmaine Monds, who was joined by dozens of her Hanover County teaching colleagues and more than 100 parents. The crowd packed the meeting to urge school leaders not to make drastic changes to close a budget shortfall.

Monds, a 15-year teaching veteran, said prior cuts already make her work difficult.  “There are things that I can’t do for my GT program that needs to get done.  There are things that I can’t do for the IB kids that needs to get done.”

The superintendent’s plan proposes adding a class to teachers’ schedules, cutting their planning time, and cutting middle school athletics.  Parents also think having high school athletes pay for their equipment could be an added burden.

Schyler Neale, a senior at Patrick Henry High School is worried about that. “I’m also an athlete and I play three sports and with the budget cuts, if the sports become pay-to-play, I wouldn’t be able to do any of them, maybe one. I’m looking at sports to get me into college.”

One nervous parent says the county already lags in technology and to cut its few science-based extracurricular activities is shortsighted.  “I think something like robotics is important for the future of our kids,” said Charles Gauntt.  “I think it’s a skill that would be very necessary in order to get a job.”

Tuesday’s hearing was for input on the superintendent’s plan and will be voted on later this spring.