The number of students headed to Chesterfield County schools next year looks to be decreasing, which will influence how much money the school system sees from the Commonwealth.
School leaders say a tough economy is likely contributing to a slow down, even decrease, in the number of students expected here next fall. That matters because the commonwealth distributes some funding based on projected student enrollment.
"Enrollment plays a pretty significant roll in terms of what we're allocated from the state," said David Wyman, School Board Chairman.
Officials say projections show about 350 fewer students.
"On a percentage basis not particularly large," explained Wyman. "But in terms of real dollars that we receive from the state, it is actually a reduction."
Out of a multi-million dollar budget, it will reduce about $470,000 in funding. Looking at the money coming in, Wyman said he is still cautiously optimistic for the budget process.
"We just have to deal with the new economic realities that we have right now within our school system and we'll work closely with the county and the state to do the best that we can do," said Wyman.
Wyman points to student performance as an indication that cuts in the classroom are not hindering student performance.
"Even though over the last four years we've seen reductions in funding, we've seen our SOL scores actually increase," said Wyman. "So we're actually at the highest level of SOL performance despite the fact that we've seen reductions in resources, despite the fact that we've seen more kids in our classrooms. "
Wyman adds that this is possible because of caring teachers and mentors stepping up tot he plate when he dollars and resources are no longer available.
Longer term projections show student populations will stay the same and gradually increase in later years.
Tuesday, the Superintendent is expected to present his projected expenses, giving the clearest look of where the budget stands for Chesterfield Schools.
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