Schools Eyeing More State Funds for Next Year

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

State spending on local schools could get a big boost next year. WHSV found out what this could mean for your children's education.

Smaller classes, more money for teachers and just simply more teachers, this is the goal of the state board of education to improve your child's learning environment. And Rockingham County School Superintendent Dr. John Kidd says the state taking on more responsibility in funding teachers would take a lot of financial stress off of localities.

"It does come a ways towards at least getting to what school systems are trying to fund," says Kidd. "Most of these people are presently working and it’s falling to local governments to fund these positions and not the state."

Classes would be reduced from 25 students per teacher to 21. That would mean hiring more teachers, nearly 4,500 previously un-funded by the state at a cost of $117 million.

"This could mean more money where we could add it to salaries and other needs of the school systems and make ends meet better," says Kidd. "And not have to rely so much on local governments to do that."

The money would go towards putting a full-time principal in every elementary school and an assistant principal for every 400 students as well.

"There's no way that the job can get done out there anymore with half-time principals in the schools,' explains Kidd. "It takes someone there working with the community, the teachers, everyone."

Finally, schools would hire more speech teachers, as well as art, music and elementary PE teachers to teach students for three periods a week in those areas. Dr. Kidd says while any increase is good, the board still could have done more to lower class size.

"Even moving from 25 to 21 as a class size," says Kidd. "With the testing we have to do with kids you just have to have lower numbers of students."

Kidd says the trick is to see if the legislature will approve the funding. They've already approved $525 million to pay for basic education costs.

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