vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Teachers fill Board chambers to ask county for more money in FY13 budget

One teacher said her paycheck from Stafford County Public Schools barely gives her enough to get by. Another said she cannot buy any more printer ink for her classroom. Another teacher said she may have to leave the school system to find a better paying teaching job. And parents expressed worries about the kids falling through the cracks because of increased class sizes in the schools.

These were among the many school-oriented comments from dozens of speakers at Wednesday’s public hearing on the proposed fiscal 2013 budget and 2012 tax rate.

CountyAdministratorAnthony Romanello’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013 gives the school system $105.7 million, a $4 million increase from last year. However, the school board is asking for an additional $5.7 million, which would be used for raises for employees.

The board chambers at the George L. Gordon Jr. Government Center were packed with more than 100 attendees. Teachers and school employees wearing bright red, orange and yellow shirts filled the seats, and many were grading papers. They wore stickers saying “Virginia Students Deserve the Best.”

The Stafford board chambers were full of teachers and school employees wearing red and yellow shirts and wearing stickers. School Board members sat in the front row.

Fourth year teacher Ashley Pond, from Anthony Burns Elementary School, asked the Board of Supervisors for a cost of living raise. “Since education is a competitive business, are you prepared to lose excellent teachers to other counties?” Pond said. “If you want quality teachers in Stafford County you need to show them you care for their well being.”

Before the hearing, supervisors met in a joint work session with the School Board. No decisions were made about the school’s request of an additional $6 million, nor was a lingering budget item from the current fiscal year resolved.