CCPS seeks budget increase for fiscal year 2024 to adequately fund schools


Chesterfield County Public Schools

Dr. Daugherty gives a presentation to the school board outlining the proposed budget for 2024 on Jan. 24.

Mervin B. Daugherty, superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools, has requested an additional $63.3 million in funding for Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS), totalling to a budget of $899.6 million, for fiscal year 2024. Chesterfield’s population has increased by 40,000 in the past decade, and not receiving the proposed $899.6 million could have consequences.

Chesterfield County’s population is set to increase, and its leadership intends on growing the population as evidenced by the approval of Upper Magnolia, a massive parcel of land being developed as a new neighborhood, and investment in sports tourism.

In a press release, Daugherty stated that growth in the county is causing a rise in the number of students.

“Our student population is growing and the growth is expected to continue,” Daugherty said.

“We must plan for that growth and ensure that we are able to support it.”

According to another press release titled “Proposed FY24 Operating Budget,” “Next year enrollment [is] expected to be 1,600 above FY23 levels.” In the same press release, CCPS claimed to spend nearly $11,000 per student. If CCPS does not receive the proposed budget, the average class size will increase and they will have to cut programs. 

In a letter from the superintendent, Daugherty justifies the county’s request for more funding, 

“The proposed budget takes this growth into account and provides needed resources to support it,” Daugherty said. 

The county released a video promoting the increase of its operating budget stating that, “There is no doubt that Chesterfield is a great school division. We know our schools are a major reason that people relocate to Chesterfield; however, there are needs that must be addressed beyond the scope of our current budget.”

In a press release, Daugherty maintained that Chesterfield County expects a disaster if the operating budget is not increased.

 “Many of our schools are aging and some are bursting at the seams,” Daugherty said. 

With an increasing population of English as a Second Language (ESL) learners, Chesterfield County is in need of more support staff but is unable to hire more because of the support cap, a state policy that limits the amount of support staff that can be at any one school. Chesterfield County has taken the legislative position that the state government should remove the support cap. 

New citizens of Chesterfield do not always speak English,

“The ESL student population is increasing rapidly and requires greater support to meet needs,” Daugherty said.

CCPS has been focusing on competitive raises for teachers and is looking to the state to provide.

“We ask that the General Assembly examine covering the full 5% teacher pay raise for the 2023-24 school year,” Daugherty said. 

CCPS plans on spending 79% of the operating budget on its personnel. In a “Points of Pride” slide released by Daugherty, he noted the tendency for CCPS teachers to win statewide honors as evidence for the importance of CCPS staff. 

Chesterfield County’s population is higher from ages five to eighteen than it is from ages twenty to thirty five. This suggests that the county’s strongest demographic is families who move here because of the quality of CCPS schools. If the county is as close to not being able to maintain their services as Daugherty claims, the main driver for Chesterfield’s population growth could cease bringing families in if CCPS does not receive additional money.