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Pay raises proposed for Chesterfield teachers

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield teachers and other school staff members are in line for a three percent pay raise under out-going Superintendent Marcus Newsome's proposed budget. In addition to the pay raises, Newsome's $600 million proposed budget also includes a three-year plan to hire school nurses for each school.

Chesterfield Education Association president Don Wilms said he was pleased the superintendent's proposed a budget.

"That Dr. Newsome is proposing a needs-based budget is a good thing. The needs of our schools are real, and staying within the confines of what seems to be available cheats everyone - students and employees - if that amount does not take care of the needs. Public education should not be a charity case," Wilms said.

He said proposing the needs-based budget puts the people who control the purse strings in a position where they either find the money or tell the schools they can't have what they need.

Wilms said his group had been pushing for five-percent raises so teacher salaries could recover to pre-recession levels.

"Employees need a 5 percent raise to make them whole after the degradation of being the only school employees to take a 2 percent reduction for two years, followed by very modest raises," he said. "However, the 3 percent in the budget is a step in the right direction and will send a message to employees that they have been heard."

Beyond the pay raises, Wilms said getting a nurse assigned to every school was a must.

"The three-year plan to put a nurse in every school is an important step," he said. "Student illness is a serious matter and should be dealt with by a qualified professional, not left to someone without health credentials."

Public hearings on the school budget are scheduled for February 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the public meeting room at 10001 Iron Bridge Road. The School Board is scheduled to vote on budget February 23.