Woman holding mattress killed in bizarre accident

New Petersburg schools superintendent faces $2.8 million budget deficit, vacancies

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg's new school superintendent is faced with an uphill battle as he tackles a multi-million dollar budget deficit and several vacancies.

Dr. Marcus Newsome inherited the system's challenges when he was named superintendent in April. His first day was July 1.

D. Marcus Newsome

D. Marcus Newsome

The Petersburg Chamber of Commerce hosted a meet and greet for the community to meet the new leader of Petersburg Public Schools, Wednesday morning.

"We need a long-term strategic plan to guide it for the next several years," Newsome said.

The City of Petersburg is $2.8 million behind on its payments to the system for the 2015-2016 school year.  Public records showed the city missed their January 2016 payment entirely.

At least 20 jobs across the board were left vacant when year-round school started Aug. 3.

"This is a long-term solution.  We aren't going to fix this overnight," Newsome said.

Newsome wouldn't go into specifics when asked if layoffs or program cuts will be considered, but he said they are working on a plan.

"Time will tell how the city's challenges impact the schools," he said.

Parents said they had faith in the new superintendent.

"We hope we don't have any layoffs," William Evans, father of five children, said. "We have to give him a chance."

Newsome, who announced his retirement as Chesterfield County superintendent last October, lead that school division for a decade. Prior to that, Newsome served as superintendent of Newport News Public Schools.

A work session is planned for the school board on Aug. 17.