Posted by Terry Alexander - email
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - There is relief in Chesterfield as hundreds of jobs are being saved thanks to the federal stimulus package. The news came at Tuesday night's school board meeting, as the panel passed its 2010 school budget.
Those positions include teachers, secretaries, instructional assistants and other employees.
$20 million of stimulus money trims the Chesterfield Public Schools budget hole to $32 million. Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome's proposal originally cut 525 positions. That number now stands at 120.
But those cuts aren't actually people. Newsome says those slots will be reduced through retirement and attrition.
"It allows teachers to spend time with their students, more individualized instruction, more group instruction. So I think our teachers are going to be pleased that gives them the time and flexibility to provide the support that they're going to need, that students need," Newsome said.
The relief allows Chesterfield to keep its pupil-teacher ratio as it currently stands.
"For them to add more students I think that it would have limited some of the needs of the children," said retired teacher Judy Stoneman.
But the district is not out of the woods just yet: The stimulus money is a onetime cash infusion.
"This certainly buys us the time we need to continue to scrutinize our process and our efficiencies," said Board Member Dianne Pettitt.
The budget next goes to the County Board of Supervisors. Any Chesterfield residents worried they didn't have the chance to weigh in on this new version of the budget will be able to attend public comment sessions on that level.
(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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