Botetourt schools promise a good year despite $4 million in budget cuts

Despite deep budget cuts, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tony Brads said he anticipates students will experience minimal changes from last school year to this school year when they returned to the classroom today.

In a statement about the opening of school, Brads said the school division expects nearly 5,000 kindergarten-12th graders on opening day.

School opened today, but many students have already been busy in the “preseason.” The sports teams and bands at the high schools started practices the first week of August and already have their pictures done. James River volleyball player Savannah Sharkey is among them. She posed for an individual picture during picture day recently. Football season also gets started this week when Lord Botetourt hosts James River in the annual intra-county rivalry kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday in Daleville. For details about both football teams, and the volleyball and cross country teams, be sure to see the fall sports special section in this week’s Fincastle Herald. Photo by Ed McCoy
School opened today, but many students have already been busy in the “preseason.” The sports teams and bands at the high schools started practices the first week of August and already have their pictures done. James River volleyball player Savannah Sharkey is among them. She posed for an individual picture during picture day recently. Football season also gets started this week when Lord Botetourt hosts James River in the annual intra-county rivalry kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday in Daleville. For details about both football teams, and the volleyball and cross country teams, be sure to see the fall sports special section in this week’s Fincastle Herald. Photo by Ed McCoy

“Additionally, we anticipate approximately 55 students in our preschool and regional programs. After a slight decline in enrollment two years ago, the first decline over the past several years, the division is trending upward for a second straight year,” he said in the statement.

The school division is carrying a much lighter wallet this fiscal year after making $4 million in cuts that resulted in a $44.8 million budget.

The goal when the School Board was making those cuts was to have as little impact as possible on students.

Still there were cuts in personnel across the board.

Brads said in addition to students, the school division welcomed new and returning teachers and support staff as well last week.

Teachers new to the school division, 19 in all, began their formal orientation on Monday, Aug. 16. “Our returning teachers also began their preparation on the same day, which was earlier than last school year,” Brads said.

“The administrative staff has worked closely with instructional staff and support staff in preparation of another great school year,” he continued. “The focus of this preparation is the continuous improvement of the teaching and learning process. Our overall educational goal continues to be the effective preparation of our students for college, careers and citizenship.”

Brads said students and staff were greeted with a number of physical improvements at many of the county schools. Those include updated desks and chairs, cafeteria tables, computers, instructional technology equipment and school buses.

“As always, administrators, teachers and support staff are very excited about the new school year. We hope that students, parents and patrons are equally excited to begin another great school year in Botetourt County Public Schools,” Brads added.

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