Beseeching the school board


The Alexandria School Board fielded more budget requests during their latest round of public discussion Thursday evening. 
Melynda Wilcox, president of the George Washington Middle School PTA, asked the board to maintain current staffing levels for educational coaches. The current iteration of the budget calls for reducing their numbers from 10 to six and swap them as needed across the district’s schools, Wilcox said.
When they are assigned to a specific school, coaches say they’re able to spend more time in the classroom … and as a result develop stronger relationships with students, she said. In a few years we may be able to step back and say, ‘mission accomplished,’ but we’re not there yet.
Wilcox also called for more English language teachers for international students at G.W.
Vickie Cattaneo called for more resources for special needs students within the district. Technology is critical to the education of those children, she said. 
We hear often about 21st century learning, Cattaneo said. 21st century learning needs 21st century tools.
She rejected plans to cut special needs staff by five teachers and 12 paraprofessionals, saying the cuts were imprudent.
School officials will meet with the city council to begin hammering out a fiscal year 2012 budget and a 10-year capital improvement plan on March 14. The city is scheduled to release the full budget by May 2.