January 29, 2014
The controversial revenue sharing agreement between Albemarle County and Charlottesville is up for debate again. Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell has introduced an amendment that would change the terms of the agreement.
The deal dates back to the 1980's....and that's one of the reasons Albemarle county officials think it’s time for it to change.
But there is a lot of money at stake here. It's all about how the money the state provides for education gets divvied up.
Back when the deal was decided on, Charlottesville was expanding…and in order to stop their expansion, Albemarle County agreed to give the city a share of property taxes.
That has worked for years, but with cash-strapped school systems facing more state requirements and less funding, that money makes a big difference to both sides.
The county wants to change the state's funding formula, but that means millions more for Albemarle... and millions less for Charlottesville.
Albemarle County Schools Chief Operating Officer Dean Tistadt says it’s easy to understand why it’s a controversial subject.
"It’s a zero sum game. The pie is not going to get any bigger. It’s how it gets distributed and any redistribution is going to have winners and losers. And whenever you have those kinds of circumstances, it’s obviously not that easy of a decision to make for legislators."
Charlottesville school officials believe they have a binding contract, and are unhappy the issue comes up every year during budget discussions and the general assembly session:
"We want to work with our friends in Albemarle County; we are going to continue to work with our legislators in Richmond to have this bill defeated. We do feel that these particular things that are up in the bill was considered when the bill was made in the 80’s”
But Albemarle county officials feel like they are tied to an agreement that has no end in sight.
Yesterday in Richmond, officials from Albemarle and Charlottesville schools presented their sides to a subcommittee in the General Assembly.
So what happens now?
There are some new faces on the subcommittee that is looking at this, so while the proposal hasn't gone anywhere in the past, this year could be a different story.
So, now it's a waiting game to see what happens in Richmond.