Since I’ve only served on the Fluvanna School Board for 2½ months I’m still running into lots of “firsts”. My first joint meeting between the School Board and Board of Supervisors was a few weeks ago. I was impressed by a major effort from everyone to appreciate the current (good) relationship between the two Boards. The meeting was about funding the schools, and a lot of discussion centered on what to do with any money left in the school budget at the end of the year. I thought it was interesting that the schools don’t get any actual money from the county, they only get permission to spend a certain amount of county money. They can never go over this amount, and it’s too dangerous to try and time revenues and expenses to the penny as of June 30, so there’d better always be money left over. Some BOS members thought they should return any leftover money to the schools because the county had already agreed to appropriate that amount. Some members pointed out that last year significant leftover funds resulted from a savings in fuel costs, which didn’t affect educational expenses, so these savings should go back to the county budget.
There was more specific discussion about the schools’ proposed budget at a later worksession, where supervisors came to an early, tentative agreement to consider allocating about half of the schools’ requested increase over last year’s budget. This worksession lasted past midnight and involved not just the schools, but all county departments. I was (looking up a synonym for impressed) REALLY impressed by the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to listening to department heads, asking hard questions, and giving up so much time to go over existing budget items in addition to considering new requests.
The School Board had its regular meeting on March 9, but budget was less of a discussion and more of a revenue update at this point. The changes we’ll probably have to make depend on revenues that are still being decided at the state, as well as the local level. Instead, there was discussion about the Extended Service Plan. This plan pays selected retirees the cost of school health insurance premiums for 30 days work. The administration plans to take away the option of participation by classroom subbing. The thought is that teachers can make a little more than the $400+ per month as long term subs and so that category can be removed from the plan. Since that discussion, it’s been pointed out to me that long term subbing requires maintaining full teaching certification, an expense and time commitment not required of those accepted into the Extended Service Plan. The discussion continues at a future meeting.
There were only 3 items up for a vote – a list of gifted committee members, members of the Va. School Board Association Honor Roll, and the school calendar. The only Board comment was my reluctance to vote yes on the school calendar because of the number of assigned staff days, but teachers presented it as the consensus of the Staff Advisory Council and I’m all about teacher input, so I felt I had to acknowledge staff opinions by voting yes.
I experienced a bunch of other “firsts” recently – first Blue Ridge Governor’s School meeting, first planning session with Piedmont Community College, first county-wide staff budget meeting, and tonight will be my first Parent Advisory/Community Forum meeting as a School Board member. I went all last year but then I was Grammy. There’s a first time for everything!
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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the Fluvanna County School Board, the school superintendent, or anyone else. Comments added by others are not necessarily my opinions and I am not responsible for their content.