BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) Space is tight at Forest Elementary. Like many other schools in the Forest area, the building is at capacity.
Starting in the fall, that could change.
"It's gonna be able to provide some smaller class sizes which many of the parents are asking for and the teachers because it's' very frustrating for a teacher in 4th grade teaching 26, 27 students," Bedford County School Board Chairman Gary Hostutler said.
School board members have set aside money in their 2018 budget to hire more teachers. Starting July 1, teachers, support staff and administration in Bedford County Public Schools will see an increase in their paychecks.
"It just shows that we're supporting those employees. I think they've been kind of upset over the years that they've been kind of forgotten," Hostutler said.
The school system is reinstating step increases, so employees will be compensated based on their years of service.
"We had a first year teacher making the same amount as our seventh year teachers. So now we're taking some steps to fix the steps," Hostutler said.
"When we went out for it and did a market comparison is how do we compare to surrounding districts and we were behind on most categories so it said implement the entire thing," Chief Financial Officer Randy Hagler said.
Most employees will see a one-step increase and many teachers will receive two-step increases. In all, the school system plans to spend $102 million next year.
Also approved in the budget was for BCPS to purchase more Chromebooks for students, which will be distributed mainly to middle school students starting in the fall.