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Delegate forms fund for education

Halifax County school teachers are getting a financial boost in the form of a new “small needs fund” being established to cover classroom supplies and other essentials for the classroom.

Del. James E. Edmunds II, 60th District, on Tuesday announced the formation of his Small Needs Fund for Public Education, which will provide $500 to each school in the 60th District of Virginia. 

According to Edmunds, he first began toying with the idea a couple of weeks ago after hearing on the radio that some teachers spend up to $400 a year of their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms.  

Edmunds said, “I have served the 60th District of Virginia through four years of sometimes difficult budget situations and have seen how school systems have had to make difficult choices.  I learned that most of the schools in my district have had to learn to do more with less and that many teachers are using their own money in the classroom to pay for necessary classroom expenditures.   As the father of two children in the public educational system, I have seen how dedicated teachers are to their students and wanted to come up with some way to help them out.  

“With that in mind, I have decided to establish a small fund within each school district to be used to help teachers cope with the shortage of funding.  This is a small way to try to help those teachers who are struggling with providing minimum classroom expenditures,” the delegate said.

Starting this week, Edmunds plans to hand deliver $500 to each of the 19 schools in the district. The money will be given to the principals.

“The teachers would have to go to the principal to request an amount of money. The principal would then decide where the money would be best spent,” Edmunds said. “I did not want it to be part of the school’s budget. I wanted the schools to control this fund. I guess you could call it a principal discretion fund.” 

Edmunds said he hopes this “seed money will encourage others within each community to join with me in contributing to these funds.

 “Parents have come up to me and said that they were willing to put in $10 or $20 along with money I put in. If a classroom had 25 children, with $10 a parent, the fund could increase by $250 a classroom,” said Edmunds. 

 “Over time, this could get to a sizeable amount. It could grow to be really significant.” 

Edmunds said he believes this is a great way to begin a small needs fund to provide a resource for teachers’ classroom supplies.

 “Our children are our greatest asset, and quality education provides the foundation for future success,” said Edmunds.  

First elected in 2009, Edmunds is serving his second term in the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 60th District: Halifax, Charlotte, Prince Edward counties and a portion of Campbell County.