Chesterfield schools will get a $90 million boost as part of the superintendent’s budget

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty presented his proposed budget for the 2022-2023 school year to the Chesterfield County School Board on Tuesday, calling on them to approve an $846 million package. dollars, he said, addressed key priorities for the school district.

The proposal represents an increase of almost $90 million over last year’s budget of $759 million.

According to Daugherty, part of this increase is simply to meet the rising costs of necessary goods and services – but the proposal also includes investments in teacher salaries, student services and school construction.

What’s in a budget?

In addition to a base increase in teachers’ salaries, Daugherty said the school system is working to address “salary compression,” where more experienced teachers aren’t paid much more than their junior colleagues, which leads them to look for positions in school divisions that pay more for a long resume.

“We’re losing staff because of the salary structure,” Daugherty said.

But he also noted that they had seen success with their bus driver pay raises, saying they had received fewer calls from angry parents about delayed bus routes since the pay raise for bus drivers. drivers.

“‘If you pay people and an appropriate salary and work with them,’ Daugherty said. ‘You can fill positions.’

Chesterfield’s chief financial officer told the board during Tuesday’s budget presentation that the school division had more than 200 vacancies, which Daugherty said was unusually high.

The budget also includes funds for new staff positions to cope with an estimated increase of 1,500 students next year. Many of those students will be English as a Second Language (ESL) learners, who Daugherty says need extra instructional support.

Finally, the budget includes $12 million to start the process of building two colleges in the county, as well as addressing HVAC issues at several area schools.

Short term

There is, however, a $23 million catch: a budget shortfall that must be covered before the board of oversight approves the budget.

Daugherty said that despite massive investments by state and local governments, including a $46 million increase proposed by Governor Northam in his last budget before leaving office, there was still a shortfall if the county wanted to achieve its education goals.

“We’re not going to run to the county” for a tax hike, he said, saying they would seek other sources of state and local funding before moving on to cuts.

What about salary increases? These will remain, one way or another.

“Our goal is to make sure we respond to salary efforts first,” Daugherty said.

Make your voice heard

The school board will hold a series of town hall meetings and public hearings before signing the budget, where parents and community members can express their opinions on the proposed budget. Meetings will take place at the following times and locations:

  • January 26, 6:30 p.m. – Thomas Dale High School
  • January 27, 6:30 p.m. – Matoaca High
  • January 31, 6:30 p.m. – Meadowbrook High
  • January 31, 6:30 p.m. – Greenfield Elementary
  • February 2, 6:30 p.m. – Clover Hill High
  • February 2, 6:30 p.m. – Robious Middle
  • February 7, 6:30 p.m. – Cosby High
  • February 7, 6:30 p.m. – Chalkley Elementary

Following these public meetings, the board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on February 8 in the public meeting room at 10001 Iron Bridge Road for a public hearing and consideration of the proposed budget.

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