Members of the Petersburg Advocates for Children, the City Wide PTA, and the Petersburg Right to Education Campaign gave public comment at last night's school board meeting to speak out against impending cuts to the local school budget. Community members aired their concerns about cuts at the state level -- which will have a devastating effect on school systems such as Petersburg that rely heavily on state support -- as well as local decisions about maintaining low teacher/pupil ratios, ensuring that school buildings are well-equipped for larger class loads, and ensuring access to a healthy breakfast for many low-income children. The press took note of the community's input, further cementing Legal Aid's belief that strong community engagement is one of the most powerful tools for turning around struggling schools.
To read more about last night's school board meeting and the budget cuts faced by the Petersburg City Public Schools, click on the following links:
"School board considers tough budget options," Petersburg Progress-Index (Feb 18, 2010)
"Petersburg schools will eliminate 46 jobs to save $2.6 million," Richmond Times-Dispatch (Feb 18, 2010)
There are changes afoot at JustChildren. In June, we will be bidding a fond farewell to Andy Block, the founder and Legal Director of the JustChildren Program, who will step down after more than 12 years in the position. He will take a new job at the University of Virginia School of Law as the Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic. He will be replaced by Angela Ciolfi, who has worked for JustChildren since her days as a law student back in 2001.
To read the full press release, click here.
To read about it in the C-ville, click here.
In one of the largest settlements of its kind, an Arkansas forestry company has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle the legal claims of more than 2200 foreign guestworkers represented by the Legal Aid Justice Center's Immigrant Advocacy Program who say they were cheated out of the wages they earned planting trees for the company.
This is a huge win for the workers, represented by our attorneys Tim Freilich and Erin Trodden, and former Legal Aid Justice Center attorneys Mary Bauer, Jim Knoepp, and Andrew Turner (now at the Southern Poverty Law Center). Farmworker Justice and two private law firms also served as co-counsel.
Read the full press release here.
Read the Daily Progress article here.
Read the New York Times briefing here.
Read the C-Ville Weekly article here.
On February 3, 2010, eleven Virginia inmates filed a class action in federal court in Richmond to challenge the Virginia Parole Board’s denials of parole for inmates convicted of violent offenses solely because of the nature and circumstances of their crimes. Virginia law requires the Board to consider several factors including the prisoner’s behavior and rehabilitation while incarcerated. The Parole Board places almost exclusive emphasis on the nature of the crime and fails to consider the other factors. Read about the case here.
Read the Washington Post article about the case here.