PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Hundreds of parents and educators showed up to the Portsmouth City Council meeting Tuesday to make one statement: "Cut funds for schools, and it's the kids you hurt in the end."
Portsmouth schools stand to lose nearly $8 million in the 2013-2014 school year.
Tuesday's event was a public hearing for the proposed budget. The vote won't take place until May 14, but teachers say they want their voices heard now.
"Come on and give us that money. We need that money," said Rosa Boone.
She and dozens of other educators say they're already struggling to make the best out of what they have.
"We start out the year with 28 to 32 kindergarten students. We have no assistance to help us because of the budget cuts. If they take more money away what about the kids who's going to help with the kids," said one special education teacher.
They feel like they're not asking for much.
"We're asking for $5.3 milionl that it won't be cut from our budget," said Janice Mason.
"We teach now and it's a stretch. Cut the money and it's the kids that hurt in the long run," two other teachers remarked.
A few parents and students echoed their sentiments.
"I want to make sure our schools are fully funded. Our city revenue goes up each year. So should our contribution to schools, period," said Traci Tuthill.
Her son, a senior in high school said, "I think that if you're going to cut more from the budget that's pretty much leaving us with nothing".
There were also people on hand in standing room only who showed up to say that if the school board had managed its money well before now, a $7.8 million cut to education wouldn't hurt as bad.
"In the past six years, the school board cut 180 teachers and 90 paraprofessionals. They built culinary centers and childcare centers in the high schools. And now they say they need more people, more teachers. That upsets me because they did this to themselves," said Portsmouth resident Pat Simons.
Simons said the school board has made a habit of investing in the wrong things.
Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry said that during the last two weeks, incidents of breaking and entering and home or vehicle larceny have increased in two areas of the county.
A Facebook post helped Elizabeth City Police identify and locate the suspect of a hit-and-run incident involving a 3-year-old this week.
As Newport News Fire Chief Scott Liebold plans to retire at the end of this month, the city is looking for his replacement -- and they want your help.