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  • Writer's pictureNettie Webb

Lynchburg's Education Crisis: Why Your Voice Matters on April 16th

Updated: Apr 12


 "If the city insists on a lack of funding then we have a gap to fill. We are making a point, and making people realize what we will have to do." – Dr. Martin Day, March 19th 

Mark your calendars for April 16th! Next Tuesday, city council has their budget hearing. This meeting is pivotal because they are deciding whether Lynchburg City Schools (LCS) will receive level funding this year, or if they will allocate the additional 4.7 million dollars the school board requested. We need everyone to show up because our impact is amplified when we join together. No prior sign up is necessary – just show up and make your voice heard.

Despite knowing their funding for 2024-2025 since November, LCS has yet to devise a comprehensive plan that instills confidence in city council to allocate additional funds. Now, our students, families, and staff are caught in the middle, forced to rally together to find a solution and advocate for essential resources.

The city’s budget hearing became an urgent issue on March 18th when LCS uploaded a document summarizing the 2024-2025 proposed budget. The document included the line “Early Closure Fall 2024: T. C. Miller and Sandusky.” 

This was a shock to everyone. 

There was zero communication to the principals or teachers about this, and this scenario was never mentioned as a possibility. 

Sandusky Principal Mr. Womack speaks to the school board
Sandusky Principal Mr. Womack speaks to the school board . (March 21, News and Advance)

Understandably, the community was concerned and responded through direct action the following day by speaking at the school board meeting. During the meeting, community members expressed their emotions and lack of trust in LCS’s leaders.

However, when the school board opened up the meeting, our concerns were dismissed and labeled as hypersensitive and aggressive. Dr. Day's explanation that he was manipulating the city council with a "scare tactic" further exacerbated tensions.

He tried to calm parents by saying,  "There is no proposal to close T. C. Miller early. It is just if the city does not give us all of the money we requested. If the city insists on a lack of funding then we have a gap to fill. We are making a point, and making people realize what we will have to do." 

That last part is significant, the city has said there is no more money without more details.

Why would the city give the school board more money?

Where is their plan?

What have they changed? 

Again and again the board members state "our hands are tied. We can not do anything because city council is not giving us money." 

It's evident that both LCS and city council share blame for the funding impasse, with each party pointing fingers at the other. Instead of collaborative problem-solving, our leaders are divided, thrusting our community into the fray to navigate the repercussions of potential school closures.

Now, we are tasked by the school board with advocating to city council to increase funding for public education because they will not lead. 

Mayor Reed's candid apology to the community that “This isn’t right and this isn’t fair to you all, and I’m sorry,” was the first time a city official took any accountability for the situation. Her statement that —"[We’ve] been treated as pawns in a game"—reflects the frustration felt by many. 

Despite the unfair circumstances, our community must stand united and assert our collective voice to safeguard Lynchburg's educational future.

Join us on April 16th at City Hall as we come together to advocate for equitable funding and a brighter future for Lynchburg's education system. Despite being unfairly placed in this position, we have a collective responsibility to advocate for our schools and ensure the best possible future for Lynchburg's education system. Together, we can make a difference!

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