Letter from Superintendent Merv Daugherty
Team Chesterfield staff members and families,
My proposed fiscal year 2024 budget has three main priorities:
- Recruitment and retention
- Maintaining service levels given student growth and inflation
- Critical service level increases
The proposed operating budget I’m presenting to the School Board today totals $899.6 million. It is a big investment, however, if we want to ensure success for our students, a significant investment is required. Our community remains a choice community largely because of our outstanding school system, and we must provide the needed resources to make sure this continues. My proposed budget addresses areas that are critical to our continued success.
We are facing challenges that must be addressed.
Throughout the country, schools continue to face staffing shortages in critical areas. We know we must offer competitive salaries to recruit and retain the most qualified teachers and staff, and I am dedicated to delivering on salary study promises.
Our student population is growing and the growth is expected to continue. It’s exciting, but also challenging. Many of our schools are aging and some are bursting at the seams. We are projecting an enrollment increase of more than 1,600 in the 2023-24 school year. Our school division is expected to have 68,000 students by 2028. The proposed budget takes this growth into account and provides needed resources to support it.
We also know that costs have increased through historic levels of inflation, and my budget proposal makes adjustments to meet these costs. It also addresses increases for critical service levels, including increasing counselors, improving the student-teacher ratios for English language learners, and adding security personnel. It also addresses government mandates, including adding reading and math specialists.
Some details about the proposed budget:
My proposed budget would fund our operational costs for the 2023-24 school year while providing the needed resources to meet our many state requirements and guidelines, reach community expectations, address growth in student enrollment and recruit and retain a high-quality workforce.
The budget proposal includes an additional $63.3 million investment in education over our fiscal year 2023 budget levels, which includes a $33.8 million increase in workforce investment, $23 million to maintain service levels and $6.5 million to address critical service level needs.
Projected funding increases include $34.3 million in state revenue and $33.9 million in additional needed local or state funding to meet requirements and community expectations, recruit and retain the best talent and serve our students appropriately.
The document linked below offers additional details about what is proposed; the largest investment remains in our workforce. We must keep our focus on what matters most and work to meet our needs in a way that will propel our division forward. We are thankful for our collaboration with the county, and we look forward to continuing our work with the county and state leaders over the coming weeks.
Dr. Merv Daugherty