Chesterfield Co. School Workers Hired Back

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

posted by Chris Berdoz - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA. (WWBT) - Chesterfield County schools plans to rehire some laid off workers. Last month, 64 employees were let go. Now it says federal stimulus money will let some of those workers stay on the payroll. Those eleven math and reader specialists are expected to have their jobs back by 6:45pm Tuesday night.

The school board will also restructure another 50 employees to keep them on the payroll as well. School leaders say they're doing everything they can to keep as many of it's well-trained staff as possible.

Chesterfield's student population may not be following a straight path when it comes to growth, but school leaders say the system is growing and expect that once the economy turns around more people will buy homes in the county, meaning even more students.

"It's slowed but we are still growing and we see even larger growth on the horizon, and we really see a need to plan for that growth and be ready for it," said school spokesperson Shawn Smith.

That's why the school board is expected to reduce the hours of around 50 employees to keep them on the payroll, and use the federal stimulus money to rehire nearly a dozen let go last month. It also plans in the fall to vote on ways to save money while expanding the system.

A growth task force committee has been researching ideas for a year.

"The hard work is still out in front of us as we look towards the next couple of years," said David Wyman from the growth task force.

The committee is not only recommending that the school system look at reinvesting in older buildings, but also take action on alternatives to building new ones. One major idea is having students learn from home on their computers with virtual classrooms. Around 2000 high schoolers use it now.

But that's not all. The group also suggests the board vote on staggering student schedules to help with capacity issues, along with encouraging teens to finish up high school in their junior year.

"We are facing growth even though not right now but over the next 10 to 15 years we will still have school needs we need to address "

The growth task force committee will present it's ideas to the public and the board right after that special meeting ends.  If you would like to attend both, they're happening at the Fulghum Center off Cogbill Road. The special meeting begins at 6:20pm Tuesday night.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.