More than 200 first-year teachers let go due to budget cuts

Posted at 7:31 AM, Apr 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-04 14:24:55-04

Last month, more than 245 first-year teachers in Virginia Beach received a letter in the mail telling them that they may not have jobs next year. Tuesday night, the Virginia Beach School Board made it official.

“It’s the first time in the 14 years that I’ve been on the School Board that we have had to go through this process at all,” says Dan Edwards, Chairman of the Virginia Beach School Board.

Leanna Hedges is one of the teachers who will not have her contract renewed.

She says she has been teaching special education at Tallwood Elementary for nearly six years. She says this was her first full-time teaching job.

She was told that the school system can no longer afford her because of budget problems.

“We’re making our best case to our colleagues on the city council in hopes that they would be able to find the funds to avoid this,” says Edwards.

The board has been meeting with the city council regularly to come up with a solution. Tuesday night was the first of several workshops. For now, the schools are still $17 million short.

The first-year teachers were the first to be cut.

“It’s sad. I know how hard I worked to become a teacher and how much school I put in and late nights and effort and how much time I’ve put into my first year of teaching. I feel bad. I feel bad for those people, I feel bad for myself, but most importantly, the kids. I feel like they are losing a major asset. The young generation of teachers who grew up with technology, that’s how this generation right now is learning,” says Hedges.

Tonight during the workshop, a few city council members suggested that if the schools really needed more money, that the school board would ask for a tax hike. A school board member said that was not her job.