CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield School Board is applying for federal funds that could give a much needed boost to the county’s Head Start program, which provides Pre-K services to low-income children.

The federal funds, which come in two separate grants, are designed to pay for cost of living adjustments and quality improvements for Head Start teachers.

There are currently 736 students in Chesterfield Pre-K classrooms, of whom 196 are part of the Head Start program. The remainder are covered under a combination of other state and federal programs.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)$34,869
Quality Improvement (QI)$10,201
Total Funds$45,070

The grants will fund a 2.28% increase in salaries for the 22 teachers and instructional assistants currently employed by the county, as well as for the two full-time administrators in the program.

The purpose of the COLA adjustment would be to “attract, motivate, and retain qualified employees,” adding to the 7.5% increase already approved by the Board of Supervisors for teachers.

The Quality Improvement grant, on the other hand, would be used to “provide professional development opportunities for administrative staff, teachers, and instructional assistants.” Any funds left over, according to the grant application, would be used for additional salary increases.