School board talks budget

By Ruthann Carr



The Fluvanna County School Board talked about three budget years – last year, the present and Fiscal Year 2021 – at its meeting Wednesday (Nov. 13).

As for last year’s budget’s $932,000 surplus, the Board voted to give the surplus back to the county. However, they gave Superintendent Chuck Winkler the guidance (or permission) to ask for $250,000 of it back to buy two new school buses.

Shirley Stewart (Rivanna), Brenda Pace (Palmyra) Andrew Pullen (Columbia) and Charles Rittenhouse (Cunningham) voted for; Perrie Johnson (Fork Union) voted against.

Johnson said she didn’t want to put the Board of Supervisors in the position to have to deny or grant the request.

Initially, Steward made a motion to give back the surplus, but to ask Supervisors to return $250,000 for two new buses and $200,000 to equip buses newer than five years with air conditioning.

In October, Winkler said with increasing temperatures and those temperatures lasting well into the fall, he wanted the Board to consider air conditioning buses for the youngest students and those on the bus the longest.

Temperatures taken on some of the buses during hot days exceeded 100 degrees, Winkler said.

All new buses come equipped with air conditioning.

The Board voted down Stewart’s motion with Pullen and Rittenhouse joining Johnson’s no vote.

Then Stewart made another motion leaving out the request for $200,000 for air conditioning.

That, too, was voted down with the same people voting against.

After some discussion, Pullen made the motion that passed.

Acknowledging it was essentially the same motion as Stewart’s second motion, Pullen said he was concerned about the “process.”

During Winkler’s report, he said the Carysbrook roof is awaiting final inspection.

Report cards were available online via a parent portal. About 80 percent took advantage of that.

Winkler said parents can always request a paper copy.

” Several students, staff, and the SGA from FCHS are working with Mrs. Bruce (principal) to possibly change how we do senior week and graduation,” Winker said.

Among other changes, the group is looking into having graduation on Friday evening to free up the Memorial Day weekend. Winkler said he will keep the Board updated.

When Winkler didn’t give a report on E-Sports that was listed in his packet, Johnson asked for clarification.

E-Sports is online gaming competition.

Winkler said it costs about $64 per game per semester. It’s possible faster gaming monitors that cost $700 each might be needed for the 20 students interested to compete at the highest level.

Johnson said she researched the games suggested and two of the three – “Rocket League and League of Legends” – are rated T for Teen.

That rating warns of “violence, blood, potential nudity and alcohol use,” she said.

“I hesitate to endorse that,” Johnson said.

Winkler said he would have more detailed information at a future meeting.

Executive Director of Instruction and Finance Brenda Gilliam said this year’s budget is on target.

Among the things to consider as the Board plans the 2021 budget:

  • Potential loss of $225,000 because of drop in enrollment;
  • A change in the Local Composite Index could result in $65,000 less in state funding;
  • Revisions in the Standards of Quality;
  • Increased special education student enrollment;
  • Health insurance costs.


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