26 Mar Possible Cuts to Governor’s School Spark Debate in Pulaski County

March 26, 2010

Source: WDBJ7

As the state budget forces the Pulaski County school system to cut back, the president of the education association there says funding for the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School may go on the chopping block.

"It was one of the reasons why we came to Pulaski was because they had the governor’s school in this county," said Derek Brown, senior at the governor’s school.

"The kids here, their desire to learn is just contagious," said Ashley Taylor, senior at the governor’s school.

"We think it’s wonderful, but it’s a luxury," said Shannon Turner, president of Pulaski County Education Association.

Pulaski County pays to maintain the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School building.

Shannon Turner says that cost needs to be shared by the eight different school systems that pay to send top students there.

Meantime, Turner says Pulaski County may lose up to 103 teacher and support staff positions.  That would mean larger class sizes.

And she’s not opposed to pulling Pulaski County students out of the school altogether.

"You’re talking over four thousand other students that will be harmed.  It will be a negative impact by losing all these people," said Turner.

"We have a twenty year history with Pulaski County schools," said Rebecca Phillips, director of the governor’s school.

Phillips explains the school is funded by local schools systems and the state.  She knew they’d feel the pain with state budget cuts, but calls the degree of which certain school systems might cut back "alarming."

"Some people might see it’s an additional program and something they may look to for cuts but it’s also a significant and required program," said Phillips.

Pulaski County has not finalized their operational budget yet.  The county has proposed a six percent property tax rate increase that would go to the school system.

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