By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
On February 24th, Fluvanna County’s supervisors signaled that they are considering significant cuts to the school budget in Fiscal Year 2011. At a well-attended budget work session, four members of the board appeared in favor of reducing the local contribution by $3 million, or twenty percent of the annual $15 million local appropriation.
This would be in addition to the state cuts, currently estimated to be on the order of $2.9 million.
Earlier in the week, Dr. Thomas W. D. Smith unexpectedly resigned, just months after receiving a two-year contract extension from the previous school board. Last November’s election changed the board’s composition dramatically and Smith no longer enjoyed a totally supportive board.
Supervisors still have a long way to go to balance the budget. There is one faction that opposes any tax increase at this point, while the majority seems inclined to blend spending cuts with some tax hikes.
Currently most, if not all, capital improvement plans are off the table (except for some school bus purchases). However, Rookie supervisor Joe Chesser is looking to set aside as much as a million dollars for economic development in the county, primarily for infrastructure.
Supervisor Mozell Booker wants to keep the local school contribution at $15 million and make up the difference through tax increases and cuts in several other areas. This approach lacks support from a majority of members.
Supervisors are holding weekly budget work sessions and expect to complete work by mid-March.