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Chesterfield County proposes $773M budget - but is it enough to provide for teachers?

Chesterfield County leaders have proposed a $773 million budget for for 2021 which administrators hope will "help the county move forward."
Posted at 11:27 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 23:34:45-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield County leaders have proposed a $773 million budget for for 2021 which administrators hope will "help the county move forward."

Dr. Joe Casey said the proposed budget would keep real estate taxes the same at 95 cents, while including a 2 percent salary raise for all county and school employees.

84 percent of the budget would be dedicated to education and public safety. In regards to public safety, Dr. Casey said the budget would fund career development plans in police, fire, and sheriff’s offices.

But the largest topic in the proposed 2021 budget is funding for Chesterfield County Schools.

The proposed budget would include $726.9 million for Chesterfield County Schools - the largest allocation in the County's history. Administrators say that it would support hiring nearly 300 school based staff and provides $3.4 million in differentiated school based funding.

Casey said that the County plans on communicating with the schools to determine where the money should be allocated, asking, "What were all those needs that were not funded to see what we can also fit within the 5 year window.”

But Sonia Smith, President of Chesterfield Education Association, told CBS 6 they still aren't happy with the 2 percent rise in salaries, and fear many teachers could leave if the proposed budget passes.

"It's not that the educators don't want to be in Chesterfield, they love Chesterfield... They just want to be able to make ends meet and have their sole focus on the classroom and not their side hustle."

Multiple community meetings are planned throughout March and a formal public hearing on the budget March 25th.

A budget is expected to be adopted by the county board of supervisors on April 8.