May 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 May meeting started off with about a dozen public comments in support of naming a high school baseball field in honor of Steve Sheridan.  Two teachers spoke in favor of the recommended social studies textbooks, and a student requested more seating in the FCHS courtyard.

Discussions around Reports included converting all schools to solar energy (which is moving forward),  increasing the portion of health insurance premiums paid by FCPS (moving closer to better benefits as offered to their employees by the Board of Supervisors), and next year’s budget (more about that in Action Items).

During Unfinished Business Ms. Pace brought back the idea of paying school psychologists more than teachers.  I understand they have masters degrees, as do half of our teachers (employees with higher degrees are additionally compensated) and they have specialized certifications, as do ALL of our teachers (just as a kindergarten teacher isn’t qualified as a school psychologist, neither is a psychologist qualified to teach kindergarten).   I agree completely that we don’t pay our psychologists what they’re worth, but In the interest of consistency, I’m not in favor of moving them off of the teachers’ scales.

I brought back the testing issue and having read the book recently promoted by FCPS, Most Likely to Succeed, I provided Board members with 5 pages of negative comments about testing quoted from the book (yep, a little OCD there).  The Board agreed unanimously to continue a discussion of less testing in Fluvanna.

Mr. Pullen talked about a Safe Schools task force and I pointed out (again) that discipline is an important component of school safety, and on our last survey staff expressed significant concerns with discipline.

Under Action Items, the vote on next year’s budget failed at first. By law, we split the total budget into 5 categories: (1)instruction (2)operations (3)admin, attendance & health (4)transportation and (5)technology.  Compared to last year, the percentage of total funds going to instruction is less with next year’s budget.  I voted against it for this reason, suggesting that we reduce expenses in certain areas in order to improve Scale B for teachers, which could increase the percentage in instruction and reflect (I think) better priorities. I’ve voted against budgets for this reason before. All other Board members eventually passed a budget, but a smaller percentage than last year is still dedicated to the instructional category.

We also voted on naming, not only the baseball field for Mr. Sheridan, but Central’s auditorium for Mr. Spragg and Mrs. Key.  Both items passed, though I voted no, only because so many communities nearby are being challenged for past choices that I didn’t want to put FCPS in the position of defending any choice based on unintended criteria such as gender, race, religion, or politics. Ms. Stewart abstained.

The final 3 public comments were in recognition of our seniors, in appreciation of further efforts to reduce testing, and a plug for increased mental health resources for students.

Our June meeting opens with a reception for retiring staff from 6-6:30.  Come and check out some big smiles!

 

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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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