Greetings Hanover Board of Supervisors and School Board Members!
I am writing to you on behalf of my 2 children, Peyton and Finn. Peyton is a 2nd grader at Elmont Elementary School and Finn will start kindergarten in a few years. We hope that they will continue to receive the high quality education that Hanover is known for and that helped create the people my husband and I are today. However, we both have grave concerns about the path our county’s leaders are taking with respect to the school system’s funding.
I understand the last several years have been extraordinarily tough on every organization, especially semi-rural local governments, but I am disheartened by some of the information I have been reading:
- Hanover ranks the 2nd lowest in per pupil spending amongst comparable school districts in Virginia.
- Hanover County has eliminated 294 school positions since 2009, representing a 10% decrease in total educational staff.
- Hanover county’s education budget has been slashed by $31M since 2009.
- Most of Hanover’s textbooks are terribly outdated, some as much as a decade.
Again, I understand that all organizations are strapped and budget cuts have been necessary, but if we continue with the trend that we have seen over the last few years, our children will be the ones to pay (I won’t even begin to espouse on the impact to property values). I am not one to get involved in political matters – ever! However, as a parent and aunt of children who attend Hanover County Public Schools, I am unable to sit idly by and hope for the best.
I implore you to consider other alternatives (cut areas outside of education and/or raise taxes – yes, I just said “raise taxes”) versus the ones that are on the table. Some of the recommendations you are considering, specifically requiring our high school teachers to teach 6 instead of 5 classes and eliminating some middle school sports, are absolutely unacceptable. The first places a much heavier strain on our already over-worked, under-paid teaching workforce, forcing the best and brightest to consider other work opportunities because they are simply unable to provide the right time and attention to their students. The second reduces positive extracurricular offerings to students at a critical time in their life, when they are starting to decide who they are and who they want to become. While these proposals wouldn’t immediately impact my children, I want to know that my kids will have access to the best high school teachers and a wide variety of extracurricular activities in middle school. With these proposals, I don’t have that comfort level, nor do I have confidence in the ongoing investments you will make in my children’s education.
I look forward to continuing this dialogue in the next Board of Supervisors meeting and invite any of you to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss my concerns one-on-one.
South Anna District