CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Based on preliminary numbers Chesterfield County Schools will have a budget surplus of about $15.2 million this year. The school board recently voted on how they’d like to spend that money: $2.9 million for the debt reserve, $7 million towards future budgets, $1 million toward replacing school buses, and $2 million for the school’s underfunded retirement program. One resident suggested putting more money into the program at a board meeting last week.

You’ve got a delinquency in SRP and you asked for $3.1 million more this year and you’re going to do it next year and the year after. You could use part of that $7 million to pay it down.

Donald Wilms with the Chesterfield Education Association says he thinks $2 million for the retirement program is enough for now.

“There’s money there for SPR, and then there’s money there for other things,” he said. “It’s sort of like when you’re managing your own budget at home. You don’t make extra payments on your mortgage by not making the payments on your car or your utility bills.”

Chesterfield County teacher Sonia Smith, who voiced concerns to 8News a few months ago about the county’s retirement program, says she’s encouraged by the investments she’s seeing. She calls it a step in the right direction and a positive signal for teachers who are counting on the county’s retirement plan.

A lot of my colleagues in the classroom were confused, they were worried, they were anxious,” she explained. 
The people who put in the time, the ones who are on the front lines handling that definitely need to be taken care of and the school board did the right thing.”

While the school board has voted on how they’d like that money to be spent, the Board of Supervisors still has to approve it.

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