An FTA salute

Fact: FTA’s study never said that Fluvanna is “the highest-funded school district in our area.” What the study actually reported is that Fluvanna ranked third of eight counties in total local taxpayer dollars spent on schools in FY13 when all education costs were counted – operations (classroom/school-day costs), debt service (buildings) and capital improvements. That fact appeared in the Fluvanna Review piece on the survey. Where Fluvanna did place at the top was in the percentage of local tax revenue that is spent on schools – very different from actual dollars. Fluvanna also came in first in debt service and capital improvements combined.
Fact: FTA did not set out to prove anything. We did not know what we were going to find, much like a newspaper reporter who embarks on an investigative project but doesn’t know where the facts will lead. Whatever the outcome, FTA would have published the survey because its mission is to inform people about how their tax dollars are used.
The project grew out of legitimate questions from citizens: How much of Fluvanna’s local tax dollars go to education when you count everything – operations, school building debt service and capital improvements? How does Fluvanna compare with other counties in how it distributes education dollars?
Among the survey’s conclusions: “While Fluvanna leads the pack in educational spending on new buildings and capital outlays, we are average in our spending on core instructional activities… This would suggest that spending on educational ‘hardware’ comes at the expense of funding for ‘software’ – teachers and curriculum.”
FTA should be saluted for this enterprise project – involving much hard work and diligent research – and its effort to shed light on how we spend taxpayer dollars for education in our county. See full study at

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