November 21, 2012
Fluvanna County school leaders have voted to lift three of the four most recently implemented furlough days for staff after getting a one-time supplement of $300,000 from county supervisors.
The school board will recommend when the remaining furlough day should be added to the calendar at its meeting on December 12.
The school board and board of supervisors have a budget work session scheduled for December 5.
November 20, 2012
Before any public comment period, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors approved a one-time supplement of $300,000 to go toward the county's school system to help close a budget deficit.
"It is the result of lots and lots of hours and conversations and really rolling up our sleeves and digging in and saying, 'We've got to fix this problem,'" Fluvanna superintendent Gena Keller said.
"There's areas where [the school board and supervisors] can work together, and there's areas where we can improve the school system together rather than combatively," Fluvanna County supervisor Shaun Kenney said.
Around 200 people crowded into the county courthouse for the supervisors' meeting Tuesday night. The vote took place before supervisors heard from any concerned citizens.
"It's a step in the right direction," Fluvanna County High School teacher Rebecca Neuman said. "We still have a lot of work to do in terms of the budget for next year."
The motion, brought forward by supervisor Mozell Booker, would grant a one-time supplement of $300,000 to the school system. That money, however, would be deducted from the fiscal year 2014 budget.
So, FY2014 budget discussions would begin with the FY2013 budget of $12,521,740 less the $300,000 approved Tuesday night.
The supervisors cast a 4-1 vote for the motion.
"At least for now, it's going to help us get through the rest of this year and we'll just face next year when we get to it," Carysbrook Elementary third-grade teacher Angela Davis said.
Supervisor Donald Weaver was the lone dissenter, citing uncertainty of future budgets, particularly the state's contribution.
"I cannot see digging a hole any deeper. And I cannot approve something (if) we don't know what the state budget's going to be," Weaver told the board and the crowd.
Many people who spoke in public comment after the vote expressed concerns about the future. Some supervisors say, though, they're not too concerned.
"We'll work on FY14 to make sure both taxpayers and teachers are protected," Kenney said.
Superintendent Gena Keller said the school board will hold a meeting Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to re-evaluate the need for furlough days for school staff, which were only approved last week.
There's a strong showing of solidarity for Fluvanna County Public Schools. More than 900 people have signed a petition pushing for the Board of Supervisors to increase funding for the schools.
The schools are facing a budget shortfall of $300,000. In response to that, the school board has approved furlough days and pay cuts for school staff to close the gap.
That has gotten many parents and students fired up. Parents have started a grassroots organization that's behind the petition. Even some students protested last week.
Tonight, the board of supervisors will consider a temporary funding request, even though many members have been firm in their stance that the schools have plenty of money.
The meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. in the Fluvanna County courthouse. As many as 250 people could show up to have their voices heard.
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