Thanks for reading Fluco Blog! I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna School Board. I’ll post more about our February 13 meeting, but here’s a short explanation about my no vote on the superintendent’s proposed budget for next year, and an update on what happens next.
I didn’t vote for the proposed budget because, as I’ve said from the beginning of the budget process, I believe that IN ADDITION TO a simple percent salary increase, Fluvanna should return to honoring employee salary steps, created in recognition of length of service to our community and increasing skills with experience. These steps exist and are shown to potential employees when they consider working for us. The custom for most of my first 20 years of teaching in Fluvanna was to request of the Board of Supervisors that they fund the published schedule of salary steps PLUS any proposed cost of living adjustment. While I’m in favor of funding steps plus some amount for cost of living next year, I am NOT suggesting we increase the superintendent’s proposed budget (which already includes some component of a cost of living increase). I think it’s time to make steps a priority WITHIN OUR CURRENT EXPENSES and find enough reallocations to our existing baseline budget to make this change. Sorry for all the yelling. I’ve suggested some of the same cuts and reductions to existing positions and programs that I have for years, many coming from staff surveys of the past. The list goes up on the wall, big as life, at budget meetings and I have to own some very awkward opinions in front of the people they affect, but I think it’s our best hope to honor the step increases we show our employees when they agree to work with us AND provide cost of living adjustments.
Offering competitive salaries for teachers benefits students. Our competition in Fluvanna looks reasonable because we’re surrounded by five counties, only one of which offers substantially higher earnings. But I’ve looked up the number of teachers employed by all five, and half of them work for the one county, Albemarle. That’s not even including very highly paid Charlottesville teachers. By number of teaching positions, Albemarle is one out of two local competitors. Only by geography is it one out of five.
Because the budget didn’t pass and we’re scheduled to present it to the Board of Supervisors on Feb 20, we have a special meeting on Monday, Feb 18 to try again. All five School Board members are planning to attend and it’s possible we’ll take another vote that day. I’m really uncomfortable with the rush, though there will be public comments, but we can’t hold up the Board of Supervisors’ budget process and we definitely want input into their determination of what money the schools receive. If there’s no resolution Monday, we have another meeting scheduled for February 27.
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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.