Tag Archives: school board

Greene Supervisors and School Board Kick Off Budget Season

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Prior to the second January Board of Supervisors meeting, the Greene County Board of Supervisors and the School Board held a workshop to begin the budget process. Leah Paladino, School Board Chair, led the discussion and reviewed the schools needs and priorities.

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Leah Paladino

Specifically the next school budget is looking several major issues – 1) a Virginia Retirement System (VRS) increase, 2) health insurance increase and 3) a one-time bonus – depending on Richmond’s decision. The impact of the increased local cost of the VRS is being estimated at $326,000 or a 10% increase.

Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh’s understanding is that this increase statewide would fully fund the VRS system per what state auditors estimate is required. Health insurance is estimated to increase by 15% or $357,000 and the impact of the potential one-time bonus  is estimated at $291,000.

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At the same time, this reporter has been in communication with Delegate Rob Bell asking him about fully funding the VRS fund. His reply on January 18th was “I continue to supports efforts to achieve full funding with legislation……one of the challenges is that the budget can supercede other bills, which makes it harder to create long-term policy”. I replied asking would he sponsor a bill to prohibit “borrowing” VRS funds for anything other than retirement and when will the VRS fund be fully funded per the states independent auditors. I am still awaiting a response to that email.

clip_image005Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway), the School Board liaison, commented that the increased VRS cost and the bonus are examples of state mandated costs being passed to the counties while the state maintains they are balancing the state The three items total nearly $1 million before addressing any operational needs – such as new text books, additional teachers and aides, updated computer equipment, etc.

As the school board pointed out, the school staffing in 2009 was 511 and over the next five years the staffing was reduced by 41 to 470 or an 8% reduction while over the same period the number of students rose from 2,852 to 3,099 or 9%. The combination of more students with fewer staff caused the ratio of students vs. staff to increase by 18% from 2009 to 2014.

Whitmarsh’s comment on the dramatic change was that reductions in staffing have been made by 2014 and since then the staff have been in sync with the increase in student population.

County Administrator John Barkley asked Whitmarsh if salaries in Greene were competitive?

Superintendent Whitmarsh indicated that there is an ongoing issue in regards to losing teachers with several years experience to Charlottesville and Albemarle County due to both wages and benefits lagging.clip_image007

Kristie Spenser, Director of Business and Facilities, addressed the health insurance increase and attributed it to four major claims which is causing the loss ratio in Greene to be higher than normal as opposed to last year when claims were below the norm.

Supervisor Bill Martin (Stanardsville) asked Whitmarsh how the morale of the staff in the schools is. Whitmarsh felt that in general it is improving, you always have some happy and some unhappy, but raises have been given recently and Paladino felt that teachers have been empowered, encouraged to innovate and moral is increasing.

Whitmarsh thanked the Board of Supervisors for the meeting and it will help them at their budget work session the next night – Wednesday, January 25th. She asked that if the Supervisors needed any further information to just ask and they will be glad to provide any data needed to help them understand the school’s needs. Likewise Martin offered to meet with the School Board if they felt it would help the budget process.

At the regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Michelle Flynn was elected to the Chair for 2017 and Dale Herring was elected to the Vice Chair position.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Fluvanna Schools Seek $1.7 Million Increase

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County School Board presented its budget to the Board of Supervisors on February 24.

The budget request for FY17 was $1.724 million over the local contribution given last year. That would need over six cents on the tax rate. The county administrator proposed budget had no tax increase.

The School Board budget’s increase was justified with an additional $520,000 for staff compensation, $384,000 for health care costs, $435,000 for additional staff, $335,000 for technology and $50,000 for the operational budget.

Last year, the School Board had a surplus of $600,000. Part of that was the school system spending less than budgeted and another part was the county received more money than anticipated.

The School Board cannot spend that additional money received, unless approved by the Board of Supervisors. The reason is the School Board’s budget is approved by the Board of Supervisors. That budget sets the School Board’s spending authority.

If revenue exceeds the spending authority, the Board of Supervisors have to approve increasing the spending authority. Legally, the School Board cannot exceed its spending authority.

At the Nov. 18, 2015 meeting, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to give the schools back $61,000 and keep the remaining $550,000 in the general fund. The rationale then  was that money could be used in FY17 for capital improvement items.

“We appropriated money to them. It is their money,” said Mozell Booker (Fork Union District). She advocated the extra money should be reallocated for school funding. Now that it is in the general fund, it can be spent for anything like water projects.

Don Weaver (Cunningham District) disagreed.  “It didn’t hurt them the least bit”

Weaver countered part of the issue was the county received more money than anticipated and had less expenses. That money can then be reappropriated without thinking it is owed to the school system.

The school system had lower expenses because of several factors going just right. Ed Breslauer, the school finance director, explained how good budgeting has safe guards in place so when one item runs over budget, there should be another that runs under. The schools had several items run under, which is highly unlikely. The previous two years the School Board budget came in less than 1 percent under budget.

One example is the schools’ budget was built with anticipation of fuel costs at $4.00 a gallon. Besides buses, the school uses heating oil. With oil significantly less than $4.00 a gallon, that is a substantial savings.

The Board of Supervisors will next meet on March 2 at 4 p.m. for a regular meeting. There is a scheduled work session afterwards.

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bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Principals and Students Address Greene Board of Supervisors

By. Brent Wilson, Greene County Field Officer

The agenda for the September 25th Greene County Board of SchoolCenter PictureSupervisors (BOS) meeting was fairly light  but the room was crowded. Greene County Schools made another effort to build the relationship with the Supervisors.

Superintendent Dr. Jeck  and the principals of each school in Greene brought one or more students to address the BOS to give the BOS an update on what they are getting for the extra budget funding they approved on May 8th .

Kyle Pursel, principal at William Monroe Middle School  presented Ryan Deane, Kristin Shifflett and Haley Davis who invited Supervisor Jim Frydl to attend one of their volleyball matches.

William Monroe High School Principal Mike Jamerson joined Greene Technical Education Center Principal Harry Daniel in introducing Mehgan Taylor, Senior Class President. Ms. Taylor invited Supervisor Eddie Deane to be the BOS representative to the high school and invited him to attend the Homecoming Football Game on Friday, October 19th.

Mike Coiner, principal at Greene County Primary School presented Colin Lambert who extended an invitation to Supervisor David Cox to become the schools adopted board member. Mr. Coiner invited Mr. Cox to come to lunch and take a tour of the Primary School.

Nathaniel Greene Elementary Principal Daniel Phillips presented fifth grader Dyllan Davis who presented BOS Chairman Buggs Peyton a card inviting him to visit his school to see all the great things happening at NGES. Charles Heaton, principal at Ruckersville Elementary School  presented 5th grader Ryan Davis who made an invitation to Supervisor Davis Lamb to the Veteran’s Day program on November 9th.

At the end of the students presentations, Chairman Peyton thanked all the principals and students for attending and Supervisor Deane invited all of them to attend future meetings.

The Free Enterprise Forum recognizes the significant effort the school system, and the School Board is putting forward to keep in regular communication with the BOS.  Such familiarity could promote better understanding and communication between the two elected boards as they move into the FY2014 Budget cycle.

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Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credits: Greene County

Greene County School Board and Supervisors Work on Communication Issues

By. Brent Wilson, Greene County Field Officer

Back on May 8th, the Greene County Board of Supervisors faced a very vocal meeting about the funding for the school system. After that meeting, the Greene County School Board again promised to be more open and transparent with the Board of Supervisors regarding issues going forward.

The paradigm in Virginia is different than other states as both the School Board and the Board of Supervisors are elected by voters.  The Board of Supervisors has the ability to tax (the School Board does not); the Board of Supervisors allocates tax revenue for schools but can not dictate how it is spent.  This structure tends to generate friction between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board in localities across the state.

As a part of their new communication strategy, on September 11th School Board Chair Michelle Flynn provided the Board of Supervisors a comprehensive review including a budget update, energy consumption, and news from Richmond (funding and education). All schools are fully accredited. There have been changes in personnel but there is no increase in staffing in total.

Greene County Schools Superintendent Dr. David Jeck reviewed the school facilities project for the athletic facilities. 95% of the work is complete with two areas needing to be finished – landscaping and a punch list of items. The contractor has defaulted and the school system is now dealing with the insurance company. The low bid general contractor underbid the project and that caused subcontractors to go unpaid. There was a completion bond required under the contract and the bond provides for all of the contracted work to be completed to the satisfaction of the Clerk of the Works to ensure that work is done in compliance to the contract. The baseball and softball fields along with the track are all certified by the Virginia High School League (VHSL) and the facility is now qualified to host district and regional play.

School Board member Troy Harlow covered the upgrades in communication with the community in the past four years. Both Dr. Jeck and the school system have a twitter page that are kept current. The school system uses an automated calling system to ensure information to passed on to parents and teachers. The most recent upgrade is Power School  which allows parents to access their child’s academic record in real time.

Further community dialog is promised in the future.  The School Board plans to hold two community budget meetings to outline the needs of the school system. In addition, a Growth and Facilities Study hopes to be undertaken this year to keep a look to the future needs of the school system.

The Board of Supervisors responded favorably to the presentation. The only question was related to the state not providing funding for the 20 – 25 special education students. The school system receives federal funding instead of state funding for these students.

Ironically, prior to the School Board presentation, Mr. David Blount, Legislative Liaison at TJPDC  addressed the Board of Supervisors. The Board Of Supervisors actually had feedback for Mr. Blount. Jim Frydl took exception to the state claiming to fully funding education when a large portion of the increase was taken back to help with VRS funding. Chairman Buggs Peyton asked Mr. Blount to take the message to Richmond to not send any more unfunded mandates.

So while the local elected officials are working to try  to communicate better, they may have a shared enemy in the local funding shortfalls legislatively created by elected officials in the statehouse in Richmond.

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Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Greene County Board of Supervisors 5/27/08

Greene County Board of Supervisors

Greene County Administration Building

05/27/2008

Kara Reese

 

Executive Summary

 

Proposal to award a contract for maintenance of the Emergency Communication System to Clear Communication- Approved

Resolution to accept and appropriate Byrne Justice Assistance Grant for the Sheriff’s Department – Approved

Resolution to accept and appropriate Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Planning Sub-Grant – Approved

 

Present

Steve Catalano, Chairman

Buggs Peyton, Vice Chair

Jeri Allen

Carl Schmitt

Mike Skeens

 

Also Present

Barry Clark (County Administrator)

Ray Clarke (County Attorney)

 

7:40 pm – Call to Order

 

 

1.         Emergency Communication System Maintenance Contract

A proposal to award a contract for maintenance on the County’s Emergency Communication System to Clear Communications was brought forward. 

 

Vote:

C. Schmitt moved to approve awarding the maintenance contract to Clear Communication. J. Allen seconded the motion. All board members voted in favor of the motion.

 

2.         A Certificate of Appreciation was awarded to Eagle Scout Fletcher Hultman for construction a new pedestrian bridge in the park.

 

3.         Matters from the public- None

 

4.         Consent Agenda

  1.  
    1. Minutes of the previous meeting
    2. Resolution to accept and appropriate the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant for the Sherriff’s Department.

– The grant amount was $1,931 with $215 of local matching funds required.

  1.  
    1. Resolution to accept and appropriate $7,500 for a Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Planning Sub-grant

Vote:

All matters on the consent agenda were considered together and passed unanimously.

 

5.         Other matters from the Board

 

-The 2008 retreat for the Board of Supervisors will be July 1, 2008.

 

-C. Schmitt requested that the Board consider adopting a resolution on improving the county’s transportation system to help send a clear message to legislators in Richmond.

 

-J. Allen reported that as liaison to the Planning Commission she was concerned about citizen opposition to B-3 zoning at the last Commission meeting. She suggested that B-3 zoning may no longer make sense and the Board should reevaluate current zoning categories.  S. Catalano requested that staff draft a memo addressing the current business zoning scheme and its compatibility with Greene County’s development.

 

-There will be only one meeting of the Board of Supervisors in June. The June 24th meeting has been cancelled.

 

6. FY 2008-2009 Budget for Greene County Schools

 

Darcy Higgens, Chairman of the School Board presented a brief overview of the School’s FY 2008-2009 Budget.

Some key items in the budget included:

·        Adjustments to the teacher’s pay scale to create a more linear scale

·        A pay increase for teachers

·        An 8% raise for teacher’s assistants

·        A 3% raise for administrators

·        An anticipated increase in health insurance costs of 14%

·        An increase in mileage reimbursement to 48 cents per mile

·        Installation of surveillance equipment in the Middle School and High School

·        A new math curriculum

·        New instructors for Technology and English/Drama at the High School

·        A reduction in Elementary School staff

·        The purchase of 4 new busses

·        The transfer of 4 cars from the Sheriff’s Department

·        New transportation software

 

 

 

 

 

Comments from the Board:

         New superintendent Dave Jeck was formally welcomed by the Board of Supervisors.

         B. Peyton noted that it is important for employees to understand the compensation structure up front and applauded the School Board for fixing the teacher’s pay scale.

         J. Allen noted that this particular budget was a lot a work. She felt well informed during the process. She was pleased with plans to adopt a new math curriculum.

         C. Schmitt is interested in building a collaborative approach between the two Boards. He suggested meeting with officials in Henry County to learn more about the collaborative relationship between the schools and local government there.

         S. Catalano would like to identify and combine common functionalities between the schools and county in the future as a means to increase efficiency. He also noted that the Board of Supervisors faces tough questions from constituents. It is helpful to Board members to have access to information to answer those questions accurately. In the future, he would appreciate if the School Board could provide the financial justification for encouraging an early retirement policy.

         B. Peyton indicated that if in the future it becomes necessary to raise taxes to fund education he would be willing to consider it. However, there needs to be good communication early so that the Board can identify when and if a tax increase is necessary.

         S. Catalano encouraged both Board and constituents to work together in order to make an appeal to the Legislature in Richmond regarding changes that need to be made in education.

         The Board of Supervisors was generally pleased with the School Board’s Budget and hoped for increased cooperation between the both boards in the future.

 

Meeting Adjourned 8:55 pm