It comes at a cost; the base budget for fiscal year 2014 will start at a loss of $300,000.
The motion was made by Mozell Booker (Fork Union) and seconded by Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra). After short discussion, the board approved the appropriation 4-1 with Don Weaver (Cunningham) dissenting.
Booker was lauded for the compromise in an effort to take some financial burden off of county school employees that were looking at four more furlough days for the spring semester after serving two furloughs in the fall semester.
Weaver saw the appropriation as causing more trouble. “We are digging the hole deeper and deeper,” said Weaver. “I cannot see digging the hole any deeper.”
While school staff celebrated the funds for the current fiscal year, questions swirled about what it means for fiscal year 2014.
It has been a working habit of the School Board and Board of Supervisors to look at a new school budget based on the previous year’s local contribution. The fiscal year 2013 original local appropriation for the school system was $12,521,740. The recent additional appropriation will make the current budget $12,821,740.
At the May 16 meeting, the board gave a one-time supplement of $650,000 to open the new high school. While this amount is in addition to the $12,821,740, it is not considered an appropriation to the budget.
The 2014 fiscal year for the school system will start at $12,521,740 then immediately have a subtraction of $300,000. The Board of Supervisors could increase the budget through discussions, but the starting point will be $12,221,740.
“It is a starting point,” said Gena Keller, superintendent of Fluvanna County Public Schools, after the vote. “We knew we’d be $650 (thousand) down. We’ve got to have a starting point.”
The public comment time was full of encouragement because of the effort to help school staff.
Fluvanna County High School government teacher Rebecca Newman said, “I’m just so pleased [her government students] saw government in action when it is actually acting.”
Bill Sullivan, organizer of Focus on Fluvanna’s Future called it a ‘promising evening.’
The Board of Supervisors and School Board have a busy budget season about to kick into gear. On Dec. 5 the boards will meet in a joint work session. It is a date school supporters are looking to see a continued atmosphere of compromising.
“A lot of hard work starts in December,” said Chris Farley during public comment. Farley noted the main source of tax revenue is on rooftops compared to sales tax or other business related income.
“We have an income problem. Let’s fix the income problem and move the county forward.”
The joint work session is schedule for 7 p.m. at the Fluvanna County Circuit Courtroom.