Regular Meeting Feb. 13 and Called Meeting Feb. 18

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January 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…

At the beginning of the January meeting there were nearly half a dozen public comments in support of a vote to approve the Alliance Club request to change the colors of the Fluco F (not generally, just for specific purposes of the club).  All supporters also lamented the leak of the original letter and criticized the School Board’s inquiry into who was responsible.  No speakers came forward against approval of the request until one out of eight during the later round of public comments.

After comments, there was a presentation by Sun Tribe, a solar energy company that wants to put solar panels at all schools, mostly on school roofs.  There would be no capital outlay cost to us, they would own and install the equipment.  Their objective is to produce enough energy to run each building. There’s no sale of excess energy and no battery storage capability.  Our obligation would be a 25 year commitment to pay Sun Tribe for the energy produced at each site, wether the building stays in use or not. The main benefits would be an almost certain savings over our current electric rates and the green effect of switching to solar energy.

The superintendent’s report included a quick reference to getting parents’ input into next year’s calendar. We’ve had a few public comments recently about parents’ unhappiness with the half days.  I told the Board I’ve received considerable  parent feedback almost exclusively against the half days, and I shared my observation that this year we have six and next year’s draft shows nine.  There’ll be a lot more discussion of the calendar soon.

We have a seminar at 8:30 on January 18, mostly to discuss next year’s budget.  The initial salary options we’re looking at are a minimum of a 3% increase for all staff with higher step amounts remaining in place, or a 3% increase plus step for all employees.

Two votes were held near the end of the meeting.  The Fluvanna Leadership Development team’s student interest survey was approved.  It asks very simple questions about students’ interest in youth activities in the county. It’s included in the online info if there’s any concern.

The remaining vote was a holdover from last month when the Alliance Club request resulted in a 2-2 tie when Mr. Pullen was absent.  The distribution of stickers to teachers for display was removed from the request months ago.  Mr. Pullen abstained from voting this month, in favor of creating a written policy first.  Mr. Rittenhouse and Ms. Pace also abstained.  Ms. Stewart and I voted yes, recognizing the precedent already set by allowing at least one other school sanctioned club to change the color of the logo F.  It was confirmed with our attorney (during the meeting, it felt weird) that because of the abstentions, these two votes carried the action and the request was approved.

Thanks for reading Fluco Blog.

 

If you’d like to keep up with Fluco Blog, click the FOLLOW button near the very bottom right corner and enter your email address. It’s private and completely free. If you want to comment on a post, click Comment or Reply. You’ll be asked to provide a name and an email address. If something hits too close to home and you want to be anonymous, DON’T GIVE YOUR REAL NAME ANYWHERE. Make something up. Do give your real email address, which will NOT show up with your comment. You might also be asked for a website, which is weird and not required. Your information is not sold or leased to anyone.

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.

December 2018

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 big news for December was a continuation of the Alliance Club request to turn the Fluco F rainbow colors.  Before we got very far into the issue, the Board read a statement addressing the question of what we knew about how a local radio show host acquired a copy of the original request. The statement was approved by all members and pretty much said none of us released it, and none of us know who did.

Since the request never turned into an actual vote last month (I moved for approval but no one seconded and the motion died) it was possible to add it to the agenda again.  Questions about whether FCPS actually owns the trademark were answered (yes) and approval was rescheduled for later in the evening.  If I had remembered a Board member was absent (Mr. Pullen) I wouldn’t have voted to reschedule approval for that night.  I apologize that I forgot.  There was a lot going on.  About 10 speakers came forward in favor of approving the request and I only remember one against. (Another speaker asked for alternate bus routes to keep schools open during inclement weather and also questioned the effectiveness of the early release days for professional development.)

When the vote came around, Ms. Stewart made a motion to approve the request of the Alliance Club to change the colors of the Fluvanna F.  It was seconded by Ms. Pace – spoiler alert – you don’t have to vote to approve an item to second the motion.  The vote was a tie, Ms. Stewart and I were in favor, Ms. Pace and Mr. Rittenhouse against.  By policy, tie votes are automatically rescheduled for the next meeting so Mr. Pullen will get to participate after all.  I’m relieved.  This meeting was postponed because of snow last week.  All members would have been present if the weather hadn’t intervened.

I explained my vote in my last post, but I’ll quickly repeat that Fluvanna has approved a color change to the Fluco F by another school sanctioned club in the past.  I think pointing out how this group is different from that group, and making the decision based on evaluating our differences is unnecessary.   Rather than compare clubs and assign value by letting some change the logo and some not, as long as any group is already sanctioned by FCPS I’m in favor of treating everyone the same.  As one public speaker pointed out, maybe we should consider the logo as belonging to the kids, not the school system.  With the oversight that school administrators consider a sanctioned club a legitimate use of students’ time and school resources, I’d like to also consider them equally valuable and hold them to the same standards and the same benefits.  That wasn’t so quick after all, was it?

Minutes from the Staff Advisory meetings are always included in the online information.  This month’s indicated changes to the staff survey.  I asked for a survey committee so staff has control over the information they want to communicate.  I also asked for questions on testing and what we can do better to retain staff (that doesn’t cost much money).

Speaking of money, the amount of money to be returned to the county because it was not spent last school year is either a little or a lot less than expected, depending on who you ask.  Reasons were given, and I think accepted, but I hope communication on this issue between the School Board and Board of Supervisors improves in the future. I’ll definitely make that my responsibility.

The meeting pretty much ended with about another 10 public speakers and, as I remember, all but one in favor of the Alliance Club request.  We vote again in January.

I’ll be away for the next week or two and probably not able to check for comments.  Thanks for being patient with me.

If you’d like to keep up with Fluco Blog, click the FOLLOW button near the very bottom right corner and enter your email address. It’s private and completely free. If you want to comment on a post, click Comment or Reply. You’ll be asked to provide a name and an email address. If something hits too close to home and you want to be anonymous, DON’T GIVE YOUR REAL NAME ANYWHERE. Make something up. Do give your real email address, which will NOT show up with your comment. You might also be asked for a website, which is weird and not required. Your information is not sold or leased to anyone.

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.