Chesterfield schools audit hoping to save $4 million

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A new report highlights ways Chesterfield schools can save more than $4 million next year and some of those recommendations will be put in place.

Outside consulting firm MGT sited Chesterfield as a leader not only in Virginia but across the nation in some efficiency practices.  The county ranks high on bus routes, technology, and the use of electronic documents to save money and the environment.

Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome says, "this is another validation that Chesterfield County is a well run, well managed, efficiently run school division."

The report also focused on ways to make money.  One suggestion was to up the drivers education fee, which school leaders say they'll do next year.  The fee will go from $100 to $116, generating $40,000.  It's a price some believe parents will gladly pay.

Stella Edwards, president, Chesterfield County Council of PTAs and PTSAs says, "considering the fact that parents and citizens were not willing to let the board of supervisors increase the tax rate, so they do have more money in their pocket for these things that they really want for their children, so I think it's fair."

Another idea was to participate in the national school lunch program in which the federal government reimburses school systems for kids who get free or reduced lunch, but there are some restrictions on menus and vending machines.

Right now, Chesterfield has a self-sufficient lunch program, so they'll have to look and see if NSLP would actually be beneficial.  The bottom line though is the cuts are not over.

David Wyman, chair, Chesterfield School Board says, "we are in what I believe is a very dangerous situation within our county, people need to be taking a look at the long term ramifications of these cuts as we look out five and 10 years from now."

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