The beginning of each regular School Board meeting is meant to go pretty quickly because of Robert’s Rules consent calendar, or as we call it, the consent agenda. The idea is that the Board Chair asks for one vote on several items grouped together, because each one is expected to have unanimous consent. If any Board member wants to discuss an item or vote against it, they ask the Chair to remove it from the consent agenda.
At the latest School Board meeting (May 11) three of the seven items on the consent agenda were removed and voted on separately. Two of those, Personnel Recommendations and School Staff, passed by a 3-2 vote. I voted no, objecting to certain administrative positions. The state-sponsored School Efficiency Review found that Fluvanna had a total of 17.8 admin positions as compared to our neighboring peer average of only 15. I commented that I would like to redirect some of those funds to help teachers meet the needs of the classroom. Mr. Rittenhouse also voted no. The third item, Salary Scales, passed by a 4-1 vote. The Board had already voted on salary scales at the last meeting but there were some small items and one significant copying error to change this month. I repeated my no vote, adding that I think we should have looked at more than the one salary proposal that relied on new money, and closely examined our expenses in order to do better for our staff.
There was some discussion of next month’s vote on the schools’ categorical budget. The Board will decide how to distribute the total budget into five main categories, and then it appears the superintendent pretty much takes it from there. I’ll be interested to learn if this impression is correct.
More discussion came with the Extended Service Plan proposal. I expressed concern that the plan does not seem equitable. Long term subbing, with its after-hours workload and demand of professional certification, appears to exceed the requirements of special projects listed. The majority of the Board disagreed.
Toward the end of the meeting three more votes were taken. All members voted in favor of the listed policy updates, a Migratory Children certification (just in case – we don’t currently have any migratory children), and a new meeting date for July 6.
Final comments of School Board members included several affirmations of the number of administrative positions Fluvanna supports, as well as reports on recent committee meetings. At one meeting (of the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School) Fluvanna added a second section of 18 students to the program at a cost of up to $25,000 per year for the next 4 years. Our first 18 students are generally paid for by the state. We added these students because they have particularly high qualifying scores and increase the diversity of participants in the program. The Gifted Committee also met. Fluvanna has 272 students identified as gifted, or 7.8% of our population. The state average is 16.5% but that includes more than just the one area of identification scored by Fluvanna (specific academic aptitude). In grades K-7 students are served by the classroom teacher. Grades 8-12 are served by the type of class they take.
There’s always a lot more information available online. I try to hit the highlights of what you won’t find there.
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