Chesterfield school board approves $40 million in cuts

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

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – The numbers are final and the impact will be felt in every classroom. The Chesterfield school board just approved next school year's budget. It includes $40-million worth of cuts.

Education in Chesterfield has just changed. Compared to meetings past Tuesday's was nearly empty; just a handful of speakers, with one final plea.

"More people have been engaged in the process. We went out into the community this year at an earlier time. We engaged people for lengthier discussions and really got a sense of what people wanted to see happen," said Frank Cardella, with the Chesterfield Education Association.

From the protests against transforming Chester Middle School into a freshman campus, to the rallies to keep Perrymont Middle School from closing - over the last few months students and parents have made their voices known.

"It's been weighing on people for a long time and I think there's some closure here," Cardella said.

Chester Middle will now be a freshman campus. Perrymont will also close at the end of the year. The student/teacher ratio is increasing. Teachers will be paid less, supplements for athletics and academics were cut.

"Over the last two school years we would have reduced our school funding by almost $80 million. That's a reduction in local, state and federal resources," said Shawn Smith, Chesterfield County Public Schools.

Also in two years a reduction in the schools workforce by about 10-percent. Forecasts for the 2012 school year include more budget concerns.

"This is a multi-year process that people are going to be feeling for a while," Cardella said.

All employees who've lost their job have been notified. Their last day is set for June 18; the last day of the school year.

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