Reporting from Route 15

Long lists of recognitions and reports can make for a late night in Palmyra.  As always, you can read most of the Fluvanna School Board reports online, but here’s what was added to last night’s School Board meeting, and some of what was said before, during, and after.

Extended education (before and after care) was new to the agenda.  Fees for extended ed pay for the service which has 130-180 participants.  Because of concerns about licensing requirements, Fluvanna Parks and Rec MAY oversee the program in the future.

The current budget report (FY 2016 ending June 30) finished with anticipated leftover funds of $500,000-$720,000, which translates into 1.6% -1.9% of the total budget.

Next year’s budget report (FY 2017 beginning July 1) showed $53,509 remaining of our local appropriation after compensation and health insurance adjustments, and technology replacement funds.  The administration presented plans for that money to fund an additional literacy aide and another section of 18 students eligible for the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School.

The same report included the Board’s first collective look at the proposed categorical budget allocations for 2017 (a mouthful, I know).  Five budget categories are defined by the state (1.Instruction; 2.Administration, attendance and health; 3.Transportation; 4.Operations and maintenance; and 5.Technology).  Virginia school boards must take a vote by June 30 each year divvying up their total budget into these 5 categories.  A few months ago, a member of our Board of Supervisors pointed out that, as a percentage of the total school budget, Fluvanna’s instructional category has been decreasing over the last 6 years.  The proposed 2017 categorical allocation continues this trend.  Since 2010, only instruction has decreased as a percentage of the total budget, all other categories have increased.  In terms of real dollars, while all other categories have exceeded their 2010 actual amounts, instruction is still $2 million below its 2010 level.

Seven reports later, the 2017 categorical budget came up for a vote.  Aside from voting on salaries and health insurance premiums, this vote feels like the culmination of the Board’s involvement in the budget process.   I voted no because I’m uncomfortable continuing the (now) 7 year trend of reducing the category of Instruction as a percent of the total budget.  Mr. Rittenhouse also voted no.  The action passed 3-2.

The evening ended with School Board member comments.  I acknowledged the important work the Board does in voting on salaries, benefits, and these 5 categories required by the state.  But I also asked the Board to consider taking a more dynamic role in preparing for our next budget cycle, 2018.  It’s my desire, as an elected School Board representative, to provide more input into the disbursement of $38 million that affect the education of our children.


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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.