Chesterfield teachers and staff plead for jobs

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Chesterfield County Public Schools could lose millions more in funding from the state. This is making a tough budget picture even worse. Chesterfield learned it could lose another $4 million if a budget proposal by the governor passes. That's on top of the $26 million shortfall, for which the school superintendent has already planned. He says that's the most he can cut, without devastating a child's education.

At the School Board meeting Tuesday night teachers and staff pleaded for their jobs and against the proposed cuts.

Imagine having to cut thousands of dollars from your household budget. What would be expendable? Magnify that by millions and that's the dilemma facing Chesterfield County Schools.

It's a dire situation that could include a 3% pay cut for teachers, increasing the student-teacher ratio, slashing special education staff and eliminating 38 elementary school secretaries.

Joanne Evans believes that would include her position at Enon Elementary.

"I am more devastated for my school," said Evans. "That is what I came here for tonight, not me losing my job. It is what happens when I leave my job."

Evans told school officials safety, parent comfort level and programs will suffer if those positions are cut.

"I hope they get it. I know it's a hard job for them, but they need to get it," said Evans.

At this point though, it's a hard job with no end in sight.

"This is a long term thing this isn't a quick fix, next year's going to be better than this kind of thing," said School Board Chairman David Wyman.

As it stands now, if the state and county do not offer funding to the Chesterfield school system, the district will be forced to deal with a total shortfall of $46 million. And as the legislature has not adopted a state budget yet, it's likely more cuts will be handed down.

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