Seminar January 18, 2019

Thanks for reading Fluco Blog! I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna County School Board. My goal with Fluco Blog is to let people know what’s going on at School Board meetings beyond the reports available online. Be forewarned, when it comes to discussion, most of the comments I remember turn out to be mine! Here’s the latest…

The focus of Friday’s seminar was to work on next year’s budget, but Mr. Winkler added an action item to vote on a change in this year’s calendar, adding instructional time.  I suggested removing the vote from the agenda since it had not been discussed previously by the Board, there was no public notification, and no opportunity for public comment.  With further explanation from the superintendent we left the vote in place and had a lengthy discussion about the changes he suggested.  I was hesitant to vote at all because of the reasons above, and hesitant to vote to approve because we had a plan in place we hadn’t even completed yet.  By the end of the discussion I was persuaded that we were in an unusual situation and facing the possibility of losing time over Spring Break.  It was also clear that adding February instructional time before we lost the option was the will of the rest of the Board.  HOWEVER, after I pointed out that February 15 is a day given for time spent on parent/teacher conferences, the superintendent agreed that the expectation of each teacher meeting with every parent can be addressed more realistically this year with conferences by phone, and that if we don’t use all added time and banked time by the end of the year, adjustments can be made to staff days required in May.  February 15 and 18 were added as full instructional days this year, and the half day of professional development on April 22 was made a full day of instruction.  The half day for report card preparation on March 18 was preserved.  (Though I always point out that a few hours is never enough time.)

There was a little discussion of next year’s calendar but we’re waiting for parent input from the superintendent’s parent advisory council meeting January 28 at 5:30 in the school board office.

Talk about a policy regarding trademark use was VERY short so we could get to the original purpose of the seminar, the fiscal year 2020 budget.

The biggest question was how to apply the governor’s latest projection of a 5% salary increase BUT he spreads that out over two years beginning with 2018-19.  And, it doesn’t cover all positions and assumes we pay our teachers less than we actually do.  I was in favor of building the budget around preservation of current steps and a 3% increase.  I’d like to return some meaning to having the steps in place at all.  However, a majority of the Board members present wanted to determine salaries by a minimum of 3% and only applying steps to those whose increase would have been more than 3%.  The superintendent is going forward with this plan.  We anticipate an increase in state funds to almost cover this amount.

We spent a lot of time discussing other possible budget additions or increases, and a large number of cuts or decreases.  This is hard to do since people have a stake in everything we considered reducing, but it’s important that we use resources efficiently, and that we change our allocations as the needs of our students change. This discussion never improves my popularity.

We’re having our next regular meeting on February 13, but we have a special one coming up on February 6 beginning at 5:30 with a budget public hearing at 6:00.  I read and (try hard to) respond to all emails and phone calls, so if you can’t come on February 6, please contact me with your thoughts.  And at the seminar we talked about a lot more than I’ve written, so ask me anything!

 

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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.

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6 thoughts on “Seminar January 18, 2019

  1. It’s sad that the teachers and staff found out about the schedule change through the Fluvanna Review and Facebook. We still have not been officially told. Not cool!

  2. I really wish information had been shared with staff and parents BEFORE it was released in the Fluvanna Review. Mr. Winkler sent out an email at 12:26pm today, which was appreciated, but I don’t understand why that same email couldn’t have gone out on Friday of last week. Or even on Monday. It’s better PR to have the information coming from the Superintendent than the local newspaper. Just saying.

  3. A 3% pay increase would be the largest we’ve received in in a decade-and-a-half. However, the state appears headed toward providing funding for a 5% pay raise. Why not put that in the initial budget request for the BOS?

    For nearly a decade, the SB asks the BOS for the minimum. They usually come back with less. It’s time for the SB to do a better job advocating and standing up for educators!

    For years, the BOS has been able to tout the fact that they give us “pretty much everything we ask for” because the SB is overly frugal. Furthermore, we return annual surpluses, at times upward of $1 million and Joe Public is easily manipulated into thinking the schools have plenty of money!

    I have personally heard members of the BOS and the SB make this claim!

    • It seems there’s always a catch. The 5% raise proposed by the Governor is over two years and includes the past year’s increase. We’ll (hopefully) get state money for 5% raises adding up THIS year’s increase (2018-19) and enough for next year to get to 5%. And the money we get only covers state mandated positions (we include hundreds more in order to accommodate smaller class sizes, instructional aides, custodians, bus drivers, etc.). And money from the state is calculated on state determined salary amounts, not what we actually pay.
      Addressing your main point, I suggested basing our newest budget on honoring published salary steps and adding a 3% increase. I think it’s important we return to the distinction between steps, (which acknowledge length of service to Fluvanna and increasing skill with experience) and cost of living adjustments. In acknowledgment of the potential increase in taxes and decrease in goodwill from the Board of Supervisors, I also suggested we reallocate some of our existing resources in addition to asking the community to support employee increases. I made specific suggestions of positions and programs to cut. It’s awkward.

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