Virginia Beach superintendent tries to combat $15 million shortfall

Posted at 11:37 PM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-03 23:37:09-05

Virginia Beach, Va.- School superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence is calling for bigger class sizes and fewer teachers in a way to combat a $15.1 million shortfall.

Under his $698.9 million budget proposal for the next school year, class sizes would increase by one, meaning fewer teachers would be needed. The school division would not layoff any teachers, and would instead not replace some employees who leave or retire at the end of the year. He expects about 300 teachers would leave this way.

"We feel like increasing class size is the only option left to not impact the classroom and to that I am frustrated," he told NewsChannel 3 after he outlined his proposal to the school board on Tuesday night.

His frustration follows continued cuts at the state and federal levels. According to the superintendent, there's been $400 million in cuts to state education funds since 2009. "We have cut to the bone and we feel like there's very little left to cut that doesn't impact the proposal," Spence explained.

His proposal does provide a slight teacher raise, but is calling on school board members to figure out a way to make that a 5% pay increase.

For now, it'll be up to school board members to decide if they like his plan. They hope to adopt a budget by next month.