County supervisors got an earful during last week’s public hearing on the proposed budget.
Several speakers criticized the school district for not cutting enough, while others asked for more funding for teachers’ salaries in addition to the 3 percent included in the proposed
Midlothian resident Ron Hayes said the board of supervisors has not underfunded schools, and schools have not scrubbed their budget. He criticized the school district for funding swimming, rowing and lacrosse sports programs instead of putting a nurse in every school. He railed against the district paying $60,000 a year for a hotel and conference center reservation coordinator, $3,000 for a mascot for the new Old Hundred Elementary School, $1,700 for chief of schools John Gordon to pay for polo shirts for Team Chesterfield, $3,000-plus for the superintendent’s end-of-the-year picnic, $500 for tablecloths for the superintendent’s winter holiday open house, and $6,000 for a boathouse restaurant gala for Cosby High School winning a blue ribbon award.
“We need to get real,” Hayes said.
Cody Sigmon, a teacher at Carver Middle School, said he has accepted a teaching job in Ohio for the next school year. “I feel you haven’t fought for me,” he said, adding that he will receive $10,000 more a year in salary along with better benefits. “I feel more nostalgia than regret,” he said. “I hope you feel regret for losing educators like me.”
Heidi Casper, a teacher at J.G. Hening Elementary in the Dale District, said she’s worked in Chesterfield for three years but will be moving to Oregon, also for $10,000 more in yearly salary.
“We are not the only ones,” she said. “We are losing good teachers every single year. You have to stop the flow.”
“Ron Hayes has enumerated many things which are not priorities,” Matoaca resident Don Wilms said. “Notwithstanding, your budget starves our schools. That’s why you can’t keep teachers and police officers.”
The county is evaluating ways to transition recycling customers to direct billing with private recycling companies in order to save money due to escalating recycling costs.
Clover Hill resident Carrie Webster said that all county residents should have to pay the annual $25 fee instead of letting them opt out. “Removing the opt-out would close most of the funding gap,” she said. “If not, then raise the fee. It’s not fair to us to have to go out and seek a separate service provider. We’ve got an easy, automatic system in place right now.”
Tad Phillips, general manager of TFC Recycling of Chester, said the company has operated the program in Chesterfield for the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority since 2001.
“I urge the board to consider the unintended consequences of converting a highly successful 20-year program,” he said.
The board of supervisors is scheduled to approve the budget on April 10.