Pay raises, new school buildings highlight Chesterfield school budget proposal

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Pay raises, new school buildings, and in-house custodial work are all included in Dr. James Lane's proposed 2019 school budget for Chesterfield County Schools.

The superintendent presented his $647 million proposal to school board members Tuesday afternoon.

School leaders said this budget will allow them to invest in several areas that will directly impact Chesterfield school families and school employees. The proposed FY 2019 budget includes the following changes:

  • $8.1 million to give eligible school employees a 2% pay raise
  • $2.5 million to hire 42 teachers to keep up with student population growth (projected 500 more students countywide next school year)
  • $7.7 million to hire in house custodial workers after outsourced janitorial staff did not meet cleanliness standards

Dr. Lane said the funding structure from the 2013 school renovation bond referendum approved by Chesterfield voters has gone better than projected. An increase in debt capacity allows the district to build new school buildings at four elementary schools that were previously slated for renovation, Lane said.

If approved by the school board, Crestwood Elementary, Ettrick Elementary, Harrowgate Elementary, and Reams Elementary would get new school buildings.  Planning on the projects would begin next fall, but actual construction would not begin until fall 2019.

“We basically came to the conclusion that this is a better value for the community to do new construction," said John Erbach, Chairman of the Chesterfield County School board. "The goal is always to try and co-locate the building at the current location of any of those schools, where they are now.  But bottom line, this will be more value for the county in the long run.”

Dr. Lane said his 2019 FY budget includes funding to implement new technology that would allow parents to fill out school forms and pay school fees online instead of in person. The project is still in the bidding phase, but Dr.Lane promised the new system would be implemented by the beginning of the next school year.

“We believe it will be a new system that will allow parents to log in with their student’s information, fill out the information online, pay fees online, and then the information will be there in perpetuity," Dr. Lane said. "So every year when they come back, it will be there and they won’t have to fill out new information."

Chesterfield Schools already has funding for the new form/fee software, but Dr.Lane said the FY 2019 budget proposal includes funding that will pay for the extra 10 work days school counselors would need to input and check the information submitted by parents each year.

The Chesterfield School Board will be reviewing and working on the proposal over the next few months.

School leaders encourage parents to attend one of six town hall sessions on the budget. Those meetings are scheduled to take place over the next two weeks.

  • January 17th at 6pm at Matoaca Middle East (6001 Hickory Rd.)
  • January 18th at 6pm at Elizabeth Davis Middle (601 Corvus Court)
  • January 23rd at 4pm at Midlothian High (SB Budget Work Session)
  • January 25th at 6pm at James River High School (3700 James River Rd.)
  • January 25th at 6:30pm at Falling Creek Middle School (4724 Hopkins Rd.)
  • January 31st at 6pm at Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (13900 Hull Street Rd)

You can review Dr. Lane's budget presentation to the School Board here.

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