Chesterfield superintendent makes $26 million in cuts

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – It was a tough decision for Superintendent Marcus Newsome; decide which programs and jobs can stay and which can go.

"The budget proposal reduces the school systems budget by $26.4 million," said Newsome.

Budget cuts are set to go before the school board Tuesday night: a 3 percent pay cut for teachers, 4 percent for administrators...304 jobs, including special education staff, central office staff, and teachers aides.

"I believe that what we are proposing is necessary for us to maintain the quality that we currently have," he said.

Conference travel is slashed in half and there will be a reduction of 6 workdays for staff. The student/teacher ratio will also be increased.

"The money needs to go to educating the kids and paying the people that are in the classrooms teaching those kids," said parent Angela Jenkins.

Jenkins wishes teachers weren't hit so hard.

"Whether it's Cloverhill, Midlothian, Dale District, Matoaca or Bermuda everybody's going to be affected and everybody's going to be affected in a negative way," she said.

The proposed cuts total $26-million if the county or state doesn't come to the rescue.

"It's going to be unfortunate, but Chesterfield schools are going to look different next year," said Frank Cardella, CEA.

Right now, it's unclear which employees will be out of a job. The superintendent is now encouraging the county to invest $16-million more in a school system that is now struggling financially.

"I believe this community is going to step up to the plate," Newsome said.

Another $16-million in cuts could come if local or state funding doesn't come to the rescue. That would include an additional 110 cuts to staff, pay cuts and program funding to athletics.

If you'd like to weigh in on the superintendent's budget you can attend Tuesday night's school board meeting. It starts at seven p.m. at the county's public meeting room on Iron Bridge Road.

Wednesday, members of the Education Association and parents are rallying against the budget cuts. The community is invited to participate between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, outside the old courthouse on Iron Bridge Road.

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