‘Give us back our school,’ student says after trash threatens teacher jobs

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – In an auditorium at capacity for 200, at least 300 parents, students, and teachers showed up to lobby the Charles City County Board of Supervisors to reverse a decision that could mean cuts to county teachers, sports teams and even urgent school repairs.

“I am livid. Our schools are under attack,” said mother Rhonda.

Superintendent Dr. Janet Crawley said that the Board of Supervisors told her the school system needed to return $436,000 from this year’s school budget by March 25.

A demand, she said, that could result in her firing teachers in the middle of the school year.

“That could happen, we are going to try to avoid it,” Dr. Crawley said. “We are just hoping for a better outcome, it is stressful.”

The Board of Supervisors made this unusual demand over trash.

“I take responsibility for this every day,” Board of Supervisor Chairman William Coada told those gathered.

Supervisor Floyd Miles explained it in more practical terms.

“Because of the $900,000 shortfall from Waste Management,” Miles said, emphasizing the board needed to balance its budget.

The Waste Management dispute with the county is the reason Charles City filed a civil lawsuit against the company.

The county alleged the company is deliberately not dumping large quantities of trash into its landfill in order to avoid paying the county.

Under an agreement, the more trash the landfill takes, the more money the Charles City gets since it is allowing dumping in its county.

“They have cut us from 1,900 tons a day to 1,300 tons per day,” Miles said.

In court documents, Waste Management denied the county’s accusations.

For students like seventh grader Afrika Grooms, the dispute is  more than just about trash, it is about the future of her school.

“Give us back our school,” Grooms told the gathering.

The School Board will discuss how they will come up with the $436,000 Friday night at 6 p.m. at the Charles City High School/Middle School library.

11 comments

  • me

    Know there are supposed to be some adults, somewhere, actually
    responsible for Mananging this county. Who actually governs Government Contracts? Why is this a Sudden Surprise, causing
    such chaos? Whose in charge? Where is the accountability for
    the responsibility?

  • citizen

    No matter what outcry that took place last night seem to have had no effect on the board! Please help this community save their school!

  • Concerned Parent

    It’s prettyh sad when you have Board of Supervisor members that are more concerned about the perception that someone called one member a criminal! Instead they should be trying to resolve the issues and concerns of the education of our children. If something isn’t down, more parents will pull their kids out of the school system. It’s sad, but it’s oh so true, that the company doesn’t have any extra funding because they are in a potential lawsuit with Waste Management!!!

  • David Elswick

    Without businesses and more residents to provide a tax base, the county made a deal with Waste Management to provide a landfill for out of county sources. County took that money and built new schools and hired more teachers based upon the cash flow from fees paid by Waste Management. Now the county must continue that level of cash flow to meet its bills.

    But Waste Management would find its better to strike a deal with another location that will accept lower fees or are closer to where Waste Management picks it up.

    County cannot win – either cut the money going to the schools or cut the county government.

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