Chesterfield final budget approval could be pushed back 2 weeks

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

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Wednesday, Chesterfield's board of supervisors is set to finalize the budget for the next fiscal year, but the approval could be postponed by two weeks.

This isn't good news for the school system which is already talking job and program cuts with staff. Already, talks have begun between school administration and teachers, yet it's still unclear how many jobs will be lost and how much pay and benefits will dip.

It's a walk the Bishops may never take in Chesterfield. Their eldest is set to start school next year, but instead of walking into a Chesterfield campus, they're moving to Texas. They say cuts to the school system have a lot to do with it.

"It seems like we're re-setting the bar to a lower level," said Owen Bishop.

"Chesterfield's not going to grow if you can't offer good schools," said Tiffany Bishop.

Randy Middleton feels their pain, but he's going on one year of being un-employed. He says the county's cuts to schools needs to happen.

"It just makes sense to cut some of the money out of it so that we can go back to the basics and teach the kids like they need to be taught," Middleton said.

The question is how many teachers will lose their job...200 or 300. It's dependent on Chesterfield's final budget.

"I'm not so sure that the budget will be approved tomorrow," School Board Chair David Wyman said.

Wyman watched today as supervisors discussed amendments to the budget. Supervisor Dan Gecker wants to postpone the final decision for another two weeks, but planning for next school year must go on. Administrators are already having to talk with teachers about their future.

"We've begun planning at the school level to make sure that they understand the types of resources that they will have to plan their electives," said Wyman.

A silver lining may come in the form of $12 million. That comes from savings the school system has had to return to the county, but even then, jobs will still be cut.

"We're going to have to make some of those cuts. Okay. We know that for a fact. The question that we still hanging over our heads, relative to the $12 million, is whether we're going to have make additional salary cuts," Wyman said.

The school system does not want the budget approval to be postponed, and neither do some supervisors. We won't know what happens until supervisors discuss the issue Wednesday.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.