Email from Chesterfield Schools superintendent on Legionella testing

The following is an email from Chesterfield County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty sent to parents and staffers Friday, Aug. 23:

Team Chesterfield families and staff members,

Welcome back to the 2019-20 school year! Our outstanding staff members have been diligently preparing for the return of our 61,000-plus students next week.

We’re excited for the upcoming school year and are proud to share that for a second straight year we expect all of our schools to be fully accredited. The result shows the power of what can happen when you provide amazing learning experiences in a remarkable learning environment. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our students, staff and community!

Staff members spent this summer preparing our schools for our students’ return. In doing so, we have every expectation that we will continue to meet expectations for providing a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment.

By the end of this week, we will have proactively cleaned and treated cooling towers at 33 of the 34 schools that were not in a geographical area identified for Legionella testing. (Cleaning at the 34th site begins Friday and will be completed by Monday afternoon.) We also have developed a preventative maintenance plan, so that we can continue to meet our community’s expectations for a high-quality learning environment. Out of an abundance of caution, we have gone above and beyond health experts’ suggestions and requirements in order to provide a safe place for teaching and learning. I look forward to being back in schools next week to welcome back staff and in two weeks to welcome back students!

Safety, major maintenance and student support services will continue to be focal points in our upcoming budget deliberations. It was recently suggested that the school division had $11 million in year-end savings that could have supported prior preventative maintenance at our schools. To clarify, the school division originally projected year-end savings of $8.4 million, which was 1.3 percent of its total operating budget. This ending balance included a $3.3 million set aside required to balance future year budgets, $1 million for school bus replacement, $2 million for payment to the supplemental retirement fund that supports veteran teachers and staff members, and a $1 million contribution for health insurance. The remaining operating budget balance as originally projected was barely sufficient to meet the $1 million fund balance requirement included in the 2019-20 school year budget. Our efforts to manage the budget appropriately were fiscally responsible. It would have been illegal for us to spend more than allocated without consent of the Board of Supervisors.

Welcome back to the 2019-20 school year! We can’t wait to begin our instructional work with students. Great things are ahead!

Sincerely,

Dr. Merv Daugherty

Superintendent

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