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Mathews Advocates Oppose Budget Cuts in Visit to General Assembly

With the blessing of their superintendent and school board, two bus loads of Mathews County teachers, school support professionals, parents, grandparents, and students lobbied their representatives in the General Assembly for school funding on January 26.

More than 60 of the public school advocates met with Representative Harvey Morgan for more than an hour, pleading with him to do his best to protect school funding and to ensure that any cuts would not last beyond the current economic downturn. The delegation later met with State Senator Ralph Northam, delivering the same message.

Mathews County Education Association President Amy Bohannon-Stewart brought along several letters from sixth grade students who want to ensure that their education won't be damaged by the budget crisis.

Some sample points the students made

  • On teaching: "We need enough teachers so there won't be too many kids in one class."
  • On equipment and supplies: "Not getting any new equipment affects me because I would like to read out of books that are not falling apart."
  • On cuts to field trips: "We will not get to see what really happened in Jamestown. I would rather see Jamestown than read about it in a textbook."

The county schools would lose more than $800,000 if Governor Kaine's proposals are adopted by the General Assembly. That amount would hurt, retired teacher Judy Rowe told the lawmakers. "The loss of just one position hurts in a small school division. You need to put a name on these cuts," she argued. "A 10.5-percent cut in state funding equals a 4-percent cut in our entire budget. That will hurt our students."

Photo: Taking their concerns about education cuts to the state capital are (from left) teachers Chris Scott, Peggy Kiasey, Karen Wolski, Amy Bohannon-Stewart, and Deborah Hensley.



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