Fluvanna County Schools to Ask for Additional Funds

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The Fluvanna County School Board got its first look at the superintendent's budget Tuesday.  After some tough cuts last year, the schools are crunching numbers trying to restore the budget.

"I think it's time to repair some of the damage," said Superintendent Gena Keller.

Numerous cuts hurt the schools last year as the school board tried to balance the budget.  This year, closing Cunningham and Columbia elementary schools was an added blow.

Keller presented the budget to the school board and will ask the Board of Supervisors for an additional $1.8 million. Eliminating furlough days, giving teachers a 2 percent raise and extra technology needs top the list. Keller says even those extra funds may not be enough.

"Even with the $14 million request, there's still going to be some cuts in services and the closing of two schools takes away a lot of people," she said.

The budget is now in the hands of the Board of Supervisors. The county has proposed giving schools $13.2 million, but that is still $800,000 shy of the superintendent's request. If the extra funds are not granted it could result in some devastating cuts.

"We're at the point of the budget where it is people; funds are linked to people because we just don't have any other programs to cut," said Camilla Washington, school board chair.

Cuts could also trickle down to private schools that depend on some county services like special education. Federal cuts and the potential for more local cuts will impact those programs. Private schools would feel the pain because they may not be able to provide those services.

Joyce Parr, Director of Effort Christian School, said, "It would affect our students. We want them to have all the tools they need to be successful and to test well and to learn, and if they don't receive some of those services it will affect our children."

Parr says last year when the budget was up in the air, parents were looking at Effort Christian as an alternative, but that hasn't happened this year.

Keller will meet with the Board of Supervisors on March 20 to ask for the additional funds.