Superintendent Gena Keller outlined several preliminary areas of focus for next year’s budget.  Salary adjustments came first on the list.  Though the schools recently implemented a new salary scale, Keller wants to “smooth out the bumps” that still remain on the scale.  The intent, she said, is to remain as competitive as possible while still being sensitive the economic and fiscal environment.

Next Keller wants to look at health insurance.  Specifically, she wants to examine how much it would cost for the school system to contribute more toward its employees’ plans.  The goal would be for school employees to receive as much of a contribution as county employees receive from Fluvanna County.   “We’re close but we’re not quite there,” she said.

Keller also wants to examine the matter of additional staff or reorganization, especially in the realm of human resources.  With 500 employees, it’s a “real need,” she said.  Lastly, Keller hopes that the fiscal year 2016 budget can incorporate some funds for professional development and tuition reimbursement.

Each year since 2012 the schools’ average daily membership (ADM) has dropped.  ADM is a formula used by the state to determine funding, and is not the same thing as actual enrollment.  The state’s projected ADM for 2015 is 3,526 students, Keller said, and is 3,481 students for 2016.  Current enrollment as of October is 3,561 students.

“We still see a little bit of decrease in kindergarten,” Keller said, “and we recognize across the county there are more opportunities for students to be enrolled in day schools or pre-K programs, and sometimes that draws our students out of their kindergarten classes.”

Using the free and reduced lunch program as a measure, approximately 30 percent of Fluvanna students are economically disadvantaged.  Keller suspects that the actual percentage is higher, and that not all eligible families are applying for the lunch program.

Of all the school divisions in Virginia, Fluvanna County is one of 22 in which all schools are fully accredited.  “That’s huge,” Keller said.  “That’s a significant move in the right direction – but not to marginalize how important that is – it’s only one measure.”

Supervisor Don Weaver congratulated Keller and the school system, saying, “You’ve done that with less resources, also.  I think that’s admirable.”


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