School Board approves next year’s calendar

School Board approves next year’s calendar

By Ruthann Carr

The Fluvanna School Board approved the 2019-20 school calendar at its meeting Wednesday (March 13).

A committee of teachers who worked with the administration presented a draft to the board. One concern with the first draft was nine half days for students, which some thought was too many. The committee brought that number down to five in the version the board unanimously approved.

The first day of school for students is Thursday, Aug. 8. Open house takes place Tuesday, Aug. 6. The last day of school for students is scheduled for Thursday, May 21.

Solar panels

Reviewing SunTribe’s offer to put solar panels on and around Fluvanna schools took up much of the meeting.

Superintendent Chuck Winkler brought SunTribe’s representatives back to answer questions. The board was ready.

Andrew Pullen (Columbia) asked about the cost of decommissioning the panels after the 25-year contract. SunTribe’s Tony Steffens said Fluvanna would have the option to renew a contract. If they choose not to, SunTribe would remove the system on their dime.

Pullen also wanted to know when SunTribe started its company. Steffens said 2016. SunTribe’s Chief Technical Officer Taylor Brown said the combined experience of its officers is 100 years.

When asked about the possibility of SunTribe folding before the contract ends, Brown said one of their partners is Virginia Credit Union.

“The bank wants to see us operate for 25 years so their debt can be paid down,” Brown said.

Chair Perrie Johnson (Fork Union) wanted to know what would happen if a roof with solar panels on it needed repairs.

Brown said SunTribe would remove the panels so the roof could be fixed. He said one of SunTribe’s partners is GAF Roofing and they could repair the roof. There would be no upfront cost for the work.

SunTribe is offering Fluvanna a set rate of 8.4 cents per kilowatt hours – less then they’re paying now. The cost of roof repairs could be covered by the school paying a bit higher rate per kilowatt hours for a certain period of time. Brown suggested a rate of 8.8 cents.

Steffens said they could put a cap on that higher rate in the contract.

Shirley Stewart (Rivanna) asked if installing the panels would nullify any existing roof warranties.

Steffens said before installation they talk to each company that installed a roof and ask them to sign a letter agreeing to uphold their warranty.

Winkler said the board was only being asked to approve him signing a letter of intent with SunTribe – not a final contract.

Steffens said the letter would allow his company to do further studies of the schools and site possibilities.

The board voted unanimously to approve Winkler signing the document.

Discipline issues

Pullen said he continues to be concerned over discipline issues in the schools.

“I have serious concerns,” he said. “Some staff told officers they’d rather not have sworn officers in the school. Louisa has a Safe Schools Task Force. We need to address some of these issues.”

Stewart asked if the schools had to file discipline reports. If so, she said, it would be helpful to have that data.

Pullen didn’t think that would help.

“The numbers don’t equal what I’m hearing: knives in schools. Fights. I don’t think we discipline enough,” he said.

Johnson said the matter will be an agenda item at a later meeting.

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