Gov. McDonnell’s education initiative not accepted by Fluvanna School Board

“As our [Virginia] Constitution outlines, local school boards are charged with their local school systems, not the state governor or another board,” said Fluvanna Superintendent Gena Keller at Wednesday’s (Sept. 11) school board meeting.

The legislation requires the OEI Board to take over the supervision and operation of any school in a local school division that has been denied accreditation and it permits the OEI Board to take over the supervision and operation of any school that has been accredited with warning for three consecutive years.

Currently, none of Fluvanna’s schools are at risk of an OEI take-over.  While Fluvanna Middle School is accredited with warning in mathematics, it would have to be accredited with warning in all subject areas for three consecutive years to qualify.

According to the Virginia School Board Association, when the OEI Board takes over a school, the school board of the local school division in which the school is located must transfer to the OEI Board all per pupil federal, state and local funding that goes to that school, including the local “aspirational” funding, that is the funds appropriated to the school board by the local appropriating body over and above the funding mandated by state law.

In addition, the OEI Board is given the right to take possession and control of any facilities used by a school that is taken over, although the locality is still required to pay for any capital improvements to the facilities. Further, the school board and locality are prohibited from selling affected school facilities without permission of the OEI Board.

“A Constitutional amendment would have made this a legitimate statute, but the amendment has failed.  It’s a major constitutional flaw,” said Fluvanna Public Schools Director of Finance Ed Breslauer.

Fluvanna County passed it’s resolution to declare the OEI legislation unconstitutional by a 4-1 vote.  Cunningham district representative Charles Rittenhouse abstained.

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