PALMYRA — The Fluvanna School Board is currently projected to not get the full school funding request that was passed on March 13.
Using an informal poll of supervisors after the budget work session on March 13, the schools have a slim chance to get near the requested value.
The Fluvanna School Board approved a request for $14.1 million of funding from the locality. It still includes the elimination of 33 positions with 15 people be laid off through the reduction in force policy.
The informal poll by Fluco Blog has only two supervisors willing to go over $13.6 million. With each supervisor, the poll was on the basis that things could change but as of March 13 this is how each was thinking.
Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) would like to fund the schools fully, but she said she doesn’t see it happening because of the votes.
Booker was the supervisor willing to go the highest in the Fluco Blog poll.
Joe Chesser (Rivanna District) also said he wanted to fully fund the schools but could not agree to as much as $14.1 million. He was in the upper part of $13 million near $14 million but not fully there. He added he would have to see what the budget request from the School Board included.
Chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) said during the work session he was at $13.5 million to $13.6 million range. He noted it was $1.3 million more than the agreed to baseline for FY14.
Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) said he was in the $13.5 million to $13.6 million range with no wiggle room upwards.
Don Weaver (Cunningham District) would not say a specific amount, however he was the first supervisor during the public work session to say he was willing to increase from the county administrator proposed amount of $13.2 million. He said during the meeting the schools would need more than $13.2 million.
When asked to clarify after the meeting, Weaver restated he was willing to move above $13.2 million but would have to see the funding request.
The school funding is only one step of the budget tango. To increase school funding, the supervisors will need to find money elsewhere to cut or raise the tax rate from the county administrator’s proposed budget.
Steve Nichols, county administrator, proposed a $0.79 per $100 assess of real property. That is two cents lower than the reassessment equalized rate from this year’s tax rate of $0.59 per $100 assessed.
Booker and Chesser were the only two who were willing to go on record supporting passing an equalized rate. Neither discussed higher although neither were asked specifically about a higher than equalized rate.
Kenney said during the meeting he wanted to keep Nichols’ proposed tax decrease of $0.79 per $100 assessed. Ullenbruch also concurred on this point when asked after the session.
Weaver would not comment on the tax rate. However when the Nichols Budget was first presented in January, Weaver said he liked the budget included a tax decrease to $0.79 per $100 assessed.
Supervisors have all said they individually and collectively like the Nichols Budget and want to use that as the base for discussions. What comes out of the Nichols Budget might be the intriguing question.
County staff has found $400,000 they propose be the first to be moved or used if the supervisors would like to change from Nichols’ budget. This includes additional revenue that has changed but mainly it is eliminating some expenditures.
The Board of Supervisors will again discuss the budget during a work session on March 19. The March 19 meeting is rescheduling of a joint work session with the Louisa Board of Supervisors to discuss water infrastructure needs for both counties. After the water work session, Fluvanna’s supervisors will discuss the budget.