CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — A new report from a Chesterfield County citizens’ board is calling on the county to commit more funding to the school division in order to avert cuts to key programs in the coming years.

The Citizen Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) is made up of four members from the county’s five districts (the Bermuda seat is currently vacant) and two at-large members, who issue reports on the county’s education spending priorities and make recommendations based on the needs of the community.

This year, they echoed a call made by Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty for at least $17 million more in county funds than what is currently being offered.

Daugherty has proposed to the board a budget of $900 million, but warned that under current revenue projections by the county, they’ll face a $17 million shortfall.

“It’ll affect the classroom environment, it’ll affect the overall school division,” he said. “Programs will be cut. We have to have a balanced budget, I’m not allowed to run in the red.”

CBAC called on the county to restore school funding to its proportion of the overall county budget in the last budget cycle. Last year, the county set aside 44% of its overall budget for schools. This year, that proportion has been slashed to 41%.

Slide showing proportion of county budget given to education. (Courtesy of Chesterfield County Public Schools)

“If the 44% share of the County budget for the school division would have remained constant from FY22 to FY23, it would have been an additional $27M, closing the gap within the current School Division budget,” the report reads.

The School Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 10001 Iron Bridge Road. To sign up for public comment, residents can either call the school board clerk or fill out the board’s online form.