Fluvanna County spends thousands of dollars less per student than almost any of the counties surrounding it, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education.
In fiscal year 2012 – the most recent data available - Fluvanna County spent roughly $9,153 per student. By comparison, Charlottesville spent $15,807 per student; Albemarle County spent $12,251; Louisa County spent $11,646; and Buckingham spent $10,695.
Of 11 counties in the region, only Orange County spent less per pupil than Fluvanna.
The Fluvanna County school budget for fiscal year 2015 stands at $36.5 million. Of that amount, $15.2 million (42%) comes from local funding; $19.4 million (53%) from the state; $1 million (3%) from the federal government; and $760,500 (2%) from “other local funding” – largely money from grants and other sources.
Local funding from Fluvanna County’s coffers is largely comprised of money raised through real estate and property taxes. The Board of Supervisors this year agreed to contribute an additional $1.5 million over their contribution for fiscal year 2014. Much of this additional funding was to add positions back in to the schools, which had been previously cut, in order to bring the system into compliance with the Virginia Department of Education’s Standards of Quality.
Of the budgeted amount, 74% goes to instruction, 4% goes to administration, attendance, and health, 7% goes to pupil transportation, 11% goes to operation and maintenance, and 4% goes to technology.
The majority of school funding is earmarked, and must be spent as directed by the funding source.
“Some people think, just give (the budget) to me as a spread sheet and I will move the money around,” said Fluvanna County Schools Finance Director Ed Breslauer. “You cannot move it around – much of this money must be spent in specific ways. The most flexible funding we have is local government money, because they cannot specify where the money goes. The federal government only reimburses districts for money already spent, so if you are not spending the money on what they want you to spend it on, you don’t get reimbursed,” he added. Most state funds and “other local funds” also have to be spent in accordance with the source’s directives.