CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)— It's back to school for kids in Chesterfield County, but some of the county's schools are in desperate need of repairs and more space. Changes could be coming if voters approve a referendum in November that would inject $300 million into renovating and rebuilding schools.
"Money's got to come from somewhere; these bonds have to be floated so that these schools can be renovated," says Donald Wilms, President of the Chesterfield Education Association. "I mean I was in five schools this morning and in not one of them was the air working correctly."
Wilms says rundown schools are only part of the problem—space is another. Bettie Weaver Elementary is near capacity, while J.B. Watkins Elementary is actually over capacity. In fact, overcrowding is so bad at J.B. Watkins that the school is using two mega trailers to house students. School officials say if something isn't done, the problem is only going to get worse.
$30 million of the $300 million dollars would be used to build another elementary school in the area. If something isn't built, school officials say J.B. Watkins could be over capacity by 150 percent.
"That means an additional 500 students and even with the adjacent schools right there in that area, we don't have the capacity to deal with those students," said Shawn Smith of Chesterfield County Public Schools.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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