Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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‘Painful’ cuts on the table for Stafford schools

Stafford County’s School Board sat down tonight with a list of 47 suggested budget cuts.

“This is a sad list to me and I know it is to you,” Superintendent Randy Bridges said, holding the sheet of paper in the air.

The list includes hundreds of positions, a so-called “pay to play” option and furlough days for staff.

But School Board members declared many of the suggestions “untouchable.”  Because of rising health care and benefits costs, the county has to come up with $18 million just to provide the same level of services next year as this year. School Board members have also declared giving teachers a raise as a priority.

So the board members need to come up with about $18 million in cuts, if not more.

But in the two-hour meeting, members couldn’t agree on much to cut.

They said that getting rid of positions would be “painful.” They also expressed unwillingness to charge families so students can participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities.

“It’s an ugly job we’re doing here,” said Dewayne McCosker.

School Board members were supposed to give Bridges and his staff direction in where to make cuts. But Bridges wasn’t getting much direction.

“By the time you get to the end of it, you’re going to keep everything on the list and you’re still $18 million short,” he said.

School Board member Patricia Healy said that she understands how difficult the decisions are.

“But we’ve been here for two hours and we’ve cut maybe a couple of hundred dollars here, and we need to cut millions and millions of dollars,” she said.

Suggested cuts include: reducing teacher stipends for afterschool activities; reducing computer technicians and trainers, paraprofessionals, math specialists, ESL teachers and assistant principals; cutting the Learn and Serve program; cutting tuition assistance; limiting furniture replacements; and postponing new textbook adoptions.


  • Rob Nargi

    Rising health care costs???  Didn’t the clown you people voted in for President take care of that issue?

    Suck it up people, you got what you wished for.

  • Two

    How about taking a look at some of the administrative positions like Assistant Principals and Assistant Superintendents. Why is it always the working stiffs that have to take a hit when cutting some of the overpaid administrative fluff would save a lot more.

  • Grace Newton

    The majority of the voters in Stafford put this bunch of “Fiscal Conservatives” in office. Now look at them. They want budget cuts but they aren’t willing to accept the responsibility of making them. They killed the business tax the previous board passed, they refused to raise any other taxes but they don’t want to cut services. Do you really expect this bunch to back Pay to Play? They know that would tick off a slew of voters so forget that budget cut. It’s pretty clear they don’t have the courage of their convictions. If our kids weren’t being hurt by this insane clown posse, it would be funny watching them try to dodge responsibility for the debacle they’ve created.

  • Robert Kobman

    God forbid the county or state should raise taxes !!!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe they should take a moment to read the article in this morning’s paper about the cuts Spotsy is proposing! Instead of cutting the people who actually teach or children and offer them opportunities to learn, let’s look into cutting the fat at the central offices instead!

  • Dan Crawford

    The insurance companies are resposible for health care costs as well as the medical establishment. They make billions of dollars of “profit” from working people. If you want to see real clowns in politics look at the republican field.

  • Dan Crawford

    Stafford is the 7th richest county in the U.S. With a median income of over $94,000. If taxpayers want a quality education, then put your money where your mouth is. The Board of Supervisors needs to loosen the purse strings for the benefit of the kids.