Chesterfield holding community meetings on proposed $99.9 million budget increase

Chesterfield superintendent asking for $99.9 million budget increase

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - The Chesterfield County Public Schools superintendent is asking for a $99.9 million budget increase for the 2021 fiscal year.

The budget proposal comes in anticipation of 1,200 new students in the next school year.

While Chesterfield Schools will see an increase in state funding of $31.5 million, that’s $4 million less than what the county projected due to revenue growth in local real estate collections.

The entire proposed operating budget for next year is $777.3 million.

“Over the past decade we have been underfunded,” superintendent Merv Daugherty said.

Approximately 37 percent goes to support staff compensation, about 20 percent goes to meeting staffing requirements, about 14 percent will support operations and transportation, and nearly 13 percent will go to support student enrollment increased, the superintendent said.

“We have warning signs we are greatly concerned about. Academic performance is slipping, mental health concerns are increasing and staff members are leaving us for better opportunities around the area. Our children will suffer if we don’t act now,” Daugherty said.

If the district were to get the funding, teachers would get a pay increase to make the average salary go from $52,000 to $57,000. Bus drivers would also get a 75 cent pay increase. This would help attract and retain teachers and staff that are leaving for higher-paying jobs.

Officials said the state believes local government can afford to contribute more to schools.

The superintendent says the budget increase is not a wish list, but the actual costs of doing business in the next school year.

“If we do not address the issues of funding now it will get worse,” Daugherty said.

The Chesterfield County School Board will hold a series of community meetings on the proposed budget. Each will include a budget presentation and a question-and-answer period.

There is no requirement to sign up in advance to attend or speak at any of the meetings:

  • Jan. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Dale District meeting at Bird High School, located at 10301 Courthouse Road
  • Jan. 29 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Clover Hill District meeting at Clover Hill High School, located at 13301 Kelly Green Lane
  • Jan. 30 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Bermuda District meeting at Thomas Dale High School, located at 3626 W. Hundred Road
  • Feb. 3 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Matoaca District meeting at Cosby High School, located at 14300 Fox Club Parkway
  • Feb. 5 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Matoaca District meeting at Matoaca High School, located at 17700 Longhouse Lane
  • Feb. 6 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Midlothian District meeting at Davis Elementary School, located at 415 S. Providence Road
  • Feb. 10 from 6:30-8 p.m.: Midlothian District meeting at Midlothian Middle School, located at 13501 Midlothian Turnpike

**Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that state funding for the school system did not decrease, but did fall short of the county’s projections.

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