Teachers rally against budget cuts outside schools

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Some Chesterfield teachers are walking into work later than usual this week. They want county leaders to know teachers are against budget cuts, which are now a trend in the county.

Chesterfield teachers are taking action against possible budget cuts.  They want to send a message to supervisors who will have the final say on the school board's spending plan.

Every morning this week, teachers at several Chesterfield schools, including Falling Creek Middle School, are only working their required shift; the hours they're paid for.  They didn't walk into school until 8:15 a.m., 15 minutes before the bell rang and moments before school buses emptied out front.

Library and media specialist Betty Schiele said the trend of budget cuts need to stop

"My salary was flat for a year," explained Schiele.  "It was cut. It's not going anywhere now and I'm retiring. So it's actually affecting me long-term because my retirement is based on my salary."

With no cuts to the classroom, teachers are happy with the school board's budget. But supervisors are now reviewing the numbers. Teachers worry that could mean some last-minute cuts.

"Chesterfield county has an outstanding reputation as a school system," said Schiele.  "The reputation can only last so long without the support."

Parent Barbara Fajardo drove up on the outdoor demonstration. "I think it's a good thing that they are doing it," said Fajardo.  "They need to retaliate when they're not getting paid."

Jim Holland represents the neighborhood. He's aware of educator concerns.  "It's improving," explained Holland.  "The economy's improving. Schools are improving. Everything is getting better."

Holland hopes the other four supervisors make their rounds to various schools.

"Stay in tune," said Holland.  "Stay in touch. Because when you stay in touch, we're going to be well-informed. And the better informed we are, the better decisions we'll make."

Fajardo hopes supervisors, like Holland, listen, because there's only one reason she lives in Chesterfield.

"I live here because of the schools and because of the teachers," explained Fajardo.  "That's the only reason I stay in this area."

Chesterfield schools based its budget on the estimates that it would receive $6-million less from the county than last year.

Next fiscal year's budget will be presented to Chesterfield supervisors during a special meeting next Monday.   The meeting starts at 6 p.m. inside the public meeting room at the government complex off of Iron Bridge Road.

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