Because of Ullenbruch’s absence, however, the applicant requested a deferral for a time when all supervisors would be present to vote.  Apparently, word of the requested deferral circulated through the Fluvanna grapevine, reportedly keeping some folks at home who would otherwise have wished to speak.  With apologies to community members who did attend, and who waited through an hour of closed session, supervisors decided to defer both the public hearing and their decision to another day.  Overall they felt it was fairer to the public to wait until everyone, community members and Ullenbruch alike, could be present.

After this the Board turned its attention to a request from the school system for money to obtain a grant to provide three school resource officers to Central Elementary and West Central Primary, Carysbrook Elementary, and Fluvanna Middle School.  Grant funds would pay a large portion of the cost of the five-year program, but local money would still be necessary.  The purpose of the resource officers would be to provide security, mentoring, and role modeling to kids while they are young and impressionable.  While presenting the request, School Board chairperson Camilla Washington warned the Board that “Fluvanna is not immune” from recent school safety disasters.

The deepest questions about the proposal – its need and its cost – were largely unanswerable, however, because of the absence of both Superintendent Gena Keller and Sheriff Ryant Washington, both of whom were also seriously ill.  So again, the matter was deferred to another day.

Then, the School Board members took their seats by the supervisors and began a preliminary budget discussion.  Led by Assistant Superintendent Chuck Winkler and Finance Director Ed Breslauer, the conversation made supervisors aware of increasing costs facing the school district and how its budget may be affected as a result.  Stressing that all the numbers were preliminary, Winkler mentioned health care, the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), and staffing needs as some of the factors in play.  School administration would also like to revise the salary scale, which currently pays the same salary to teachers with anywhere from zero to seven years of experience.  In all, Winkler said, the budget request may contain a $1.5 million increase.

Supervisor Don Weaver asked about average daily membership (ADM), a variable in a formula used by the state to determine how much funding each locality requires.  Last fiscal year, a drop in the schools’ ADM was largely responsible for a state funding shortfall of nearly $500,000.  Weaver wanted to make sure that the school administration was doing all it could to stay abreast of the situation so as to avoid future shortfalls.  Washington and Winkler assured him that is indeed the case.

Toward the end of the evening, the Board fell into a discussion about the Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD).  According to County Attorney Fred Payne, there are three problems with FUSD.  Firstly, the rates don’t pay for the system.  Secondly, FUSD’s wells run constantly, which isn’t good for the equipment or the water supply.  According to Payne, FUSD needs to bring another well online so that the wells can be retested, water levels can replenish, and equipment can be serviced.  Lastly, FUSD’s infrastructure, including the pipes in the ground, is aging and therefore fails frequently.

Supervisor Mozell Booker joined Payne in pointing out that FUSD doesn’t exist as it was conceived.  Originally, FUSD was supposed to pull water from the James River, but twice in the 1970s the infrastructure was wiped out by hurricanes.  According to Payne, “it’s been limping along ever since,” drawing water from wells.

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