Albemarle County School Board is cutting some programs and some planned staffing increases to balance their budget. But the cuts are nowhere near as severe as what's happening with their neighbors in Fluvanna County.
Thursday night's Albemarle County School Board meeting was a far cry from what we've recently seen in neighboring counties. And the school system says their lack of cuts is largely thanks to the board of supervisors.
Scenes like parents pleading for more school funding in Greene County Tuesday and Fluvanna County Wednesday were nowhere to be found Thursday in Albemarle County, as the school board adopted a $151 million operating budget for next year.
Albemarle County School Board Chair Steve Koleszar said, "We aren't in the kind of desperate situations that other school divisions find themselves in."
The board cut $780,000 to balance that budget. They used $200,000 from their fund balance, reduced staff development money, and cut some planned positions including an assistant principal slot at Henley Middle School.
Jason Buyaki was the only board member to vote against the budget*because of two staff cuts to a new student intervention program. He said, "It helps our struggling students, the ones that are going to need the help the most. It helps them find a level of success."
The board also directed Superintendent Pam Moran to make an additional $209,000 in to-be-determined operational cuts. "We'll go in and take a look at areas that we will hopefully be able to find that are as far away from the classroom as possible," she said.
Relatively small cuts, the school board says, is all thanks to the board of supervisors' decision to equalize the property tax rate. They credit that move for giving them an extra $2 million to work with.
"If we had to cut another $2 million, then we would be laying off teachers," said Koleszar. "We wouldn't have any choice because there would be nowhere else to go."
Besides that extra money from supervisors, the board also credits their efficiency program put in place a few years ago. Koleszar says it's saved them millions of dollars in transportation costs and other areas.
Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story