Fluvanna Schools to Present Funding Request to Supervisors - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Fluvanna Schools to Present Funding Request to Supervisors

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The Fluvanna County School Board is wrestling with another year of restructuring.

Wednesday night, the board unanimously approved the superintendent's proposed budget for next year. Now the challenge is to make sure the schools get the funding they need.

Superintendent Gena Keller is getting ready to take the funding request to the Board of Supervisors. But even if they get the money, the schools will still take a hit next year.

"We have nowhere to go but into the wall," Keller said.

Keller says the school board's unanimous vote to approve her proposed $34.9 million budget for next year is telling.

"I have grave concerns. If we don't really, really invest in what we need in public education in Fluvanna, it's going to have a generational impact," Keller said.

The school board is asking supervisors for just over $14 million - about $1.88 million more than the initial budget baseline.

Even if the local funding needed is approved, class sizes will go up and 33 positions will be cut next year. That's 87 positions in four years for Fluvanna schools.

"Larger classrooms and less support just becomes a little more challenging. We have great teachers, but you can only stretch so far," said Ed Breslauer, director of finance for Fluvanna County Public Schools.

Even so, Keller and her team are optimistic. The proposed budget would eliminate furlough days.

"That's an absolute morale crusher to have to have done that. We had to do it to get through this year; we don't want to have to repeat it," Breslauer said.

It would also give teachers a 2 percent raise, and absorb employees' shares of the Virginia Retirement System's Group Life.

"We're one of the few localities in the state or school divisions that actually has their employees pay for the Virginia Retirement System Group Life. We want to pick that up," Breslauer said.

The money would also make better technology available to students and support science, technology, engineering and math initiatives.

"That actually isn't just at the high school level, in order to get children in the high school doing it, we have to start before they're in high school," Breslauer said.

Breslauer says it's not a luxury budget, but it will get the schools through next year.

"This hopefully will get us to a more stable position," Breslauer said.  

Keller will present the funding request to the Board of Supervisors next Wednesday at 7 p.m. In the meantime, she and her team are coming up with backup plans, in case the county doesn't have money to spare.

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