Fluvanna Schools Dealing with Projected Budget Shortfall - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, S...

Drastic changes may be coming to Fluvanna County Public Schools this school year. Full Story
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king commenter

Charlottesville, VA

#1 Oct 25, 2012
They could have sold the trailers! What did they pay for? To get rid of things that people pay lots of money for? And heating cost? Where is the cold weather? This story makes no sense at all. I think the first "budget" that needs to be cut is the one who has their hand on the "budget". They must be really incompetant with other peoples money. Good luck with that Fluvanna.
Student Athlete

Palmyra, VA

#2 Oct 25, 2012
Close one of the elementary schools, end of the conversation.
C-ville towney

Charlottesville, VA

#3 Oct 25, 2012
There are people on the school board obviously that do not know how to manage money..or form a realistic budget! This is very disappointing that there is not a savy individual with foresight to make the right decisions.
9grandkids

Dillwyn, VA

#4 Oct 25, 2012
king commenter wrote:
They could have sold the trailers! What did they pay for? To get rid of things that people pay lots of money for? And heating cost? Where is the cold weather? This story makes no sense at all. I think the first "budget" that needs to be cut is the one who has their hand on the "budget". They must be really incompetant with other peoples money. Good luck with that Fluvanna.
The trailers were rented and primarily used at Central Elementary School and the Middle School
Paul Seehaver

Palmyra, VA

#6 Oct 25, 2012
Three members of the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors have failed to meet their most fundamental responsibility - to do no harm. They voted against the community by a last minute cut in the budget that resulted in gross underfunding of the schools. For the cost of a monthly ice cream cone for each family in the county, the Board of Supervisors have turned their backs on the people of this community. Our children do not deserve this treatment and our county deserves better. What a shame.
On the outside looking in

Charlottesville, VA

#8 Oct 25, 2012
From my perspective it appears that the school administration did an extremely poor job of budget forecasting. Didn't they know that if the new school opened they would need to fund the expense of removing the portabe buildings. Hasn't the cost of fuel been in flux for a number of years now? If they budgeted less than the previous years costs they were seriously fooling themselves. Has health insurance costs gone down in the past - NO. If transitioning to a new provider created unexpected costs then someone, probably the same person who had the most input into the budget didn't do a proper job of due diligence. By closing the smaller schools you stand to impact 250 children. Furloughs would impact 3500 plus students, in addition to the parents who would need to find supervision for their childred on those days. No wonder the BOS had issues with you. Now, the BOS - As the parent and grandparent of Fluvana residents I am thankfull that I live in Albemarle County. As an individual involved in the Real Estate industry for over 30 years I can assure you that no county can survive on a residential only tax base. The key to an improved, vibrant tax base was only a "water line" away - and you blew it. When the opportunity to properly fund the county budget via a much needed tax increase, an action supported by a high percentage of residents - again, you blew it. Some of your members are aragant, arguementative, vindictive individuals. Not the behavior of elected officials who truly care for the well being of their community. STOP trying to beat the school administration at their own game. you're not any better at the game than they are. THINK about the welfare of Fluvana County!
Nonsense

Palmyra, VA

#9 Oct 25, 2012
None of the individuals that were in office when this fiasco was started are still in office.It was shoved on the residents and now we are and will be paying for this for a very long time. Very poor fiscal planning by Fluvanna County.
Also, it should be a crime the way our real estate values have been adjusted. This in NO way will benefit the economy or encourage real estate sales in the county.
not now not ever

Louisa, VA

#10 Oct 25, 2012
Quit your complaining. It appears that as though Gena Keller and the school board realize that they are not getting response to all their moaning and groaning and now have sent another minion to do their dirty work. They keep trying to light the fire of the citizens and quite frankly we are getting numb to it all. Why would the school pay for the removal of trailers that it rented from someone else and therefore payed for several times over the years. I guess the same financial wizard that paid for a lawyer to negotiate a settlement in a failed water retention parking lot debacle. Why didn;t someone have the balls to say we contracted you to build this school and its surroundings and you are expected to complete the job. Why did the school have any responsibility for this screwup. Then to hire a law firm which advises you to settle. What a joke, you idiots should have sued for a incomplete faulty job and sued for attorney fees as well. But instead you waste taxpayer dollars settling on something we the taxpayer had no business paying for ever. It no wonder you can't balance a budget, you probably can't balance a checkbook.
Fluvanna Dad

Palmyra, VA

#11 Oct 25, 2012
Nonsense wrote:
None of the individuals that were in office when this fiasco was started are still in office.It was shoved on the residents and now we are and will be paying for this for a very long time. Very poor fiscal planning by Fluvanna County.
Also, it should be a crime the way our real estate values have been adjusted. This in NO way will benefit the economy or encourage real estate sales in the county.
Which individuals? Supervisors? School Board? When do you suggest the fiasco started? 1998? 2002? Name a date. What is wrong with the real estate values? They dropped appropriately - why is that a crime? Why is it the Supervisors job to encourage real estate sales? Your statement is odd, I am missing something.

That being said, Close Columbia School & Cunningham School. This was planned for years ago when the Domino Plan was approved. The current leaders caved and agreed to keep it open until 2016. In 2015, a whole new group of parents will be saying the same. Sounds like Yancey Elementary in Albemarle.
Mountain mama

Charlottesville, VA

#12 Oct 25, 2012
Install a bus fee or shut down the buses and athletics....
Bob from Fluvanna

Palmyra, VA

#13 Oct 25, 2012
Anticipated savings from trailers was $200,000, but because of damage only was $30,000. The school was given figures from the architect about the fuel capacity and the resulting costs which were were far off from actual capacity, and this wasn't realized until the building was put into use. Closing small schools such as Columbia or Cunningham only save about $20,000 to $25,000 each and does not come close to meeting the shortfall. The only real savings come from cutting staff from the schools or from more furlough days. The board of supervisors had made drastic cuts to the school budget after advertising a 68 cent rate in April, then on the day of the budget vote deciding that the school should cut a lot more, and approving a tax rate of 59.81 cents. This entire $300,000 shortfall could have been avoided if the supervisors had approved a rate that was 1 cent higher. This would have cost $10 extra per year on a $100,000 house. School funding in Fluvanna is less than $35 million, while the Charlottesville City school system has only about 125 more students and it's budget for this year is over twice the amount- $70 million. The school system has been operating on a shoestring budget, in hopes that there would be no unexpected expenses, but this has unfortunately not been the case. It is illegal for schools to spend money beyond their budget, and the only way they can get operational funds is if it is approved by the board of supervisors, who have cut the school funding back to where it was in 2007.
auction

United States

#14 Oct 25, 2012
there's been alot of talk about 'too big to fail', but it's not the case with this school system. i say let it go bankrupt, shut down all the fluco schools for a year and then they'll have enough money the next year or the year after, or allow a corporation to make a leveraged buy out and have advertisements all over the schools and buses, or just have private school for everyone and charge people extra to homeschool their own children. simple solutions...
Concerned Citizen

Palmyra, VA

#15 Oct 25, 2012
Where is all the Lottery Money that is supposed to go the the school systems? Just wondering!
Poor SB planning

Charlottesville, VA

#16 Oct 25, 2012
Everyone talks about raising more taxes -- the BOS DID raise taxes 5%....just not 19%(which was the advertised rate ceiling). Our real estate values dropped about 30-35% this year. People can't afford more taxes. Tax collection rate is 90% for RE taxes, and under 90% for PP taxes. People are squeezed, so for once, the schools didn't get everything they asked for.

The schools are only around 450K less than last year's funding, which is a budget cut of a little more than 1% and about $85,000 of of 2011 funding levels. C'mon now... How much have household budgets RISEN? A lot more than 1$. People can't take anymore. The SB got their budget in May, and their only solution was to ask for more money -- 4x, instead of implementing solutions back in May, when people could have made different choices for jobs, schooling, etc over the summer.

Poor leadership by the school board, that's for sure.
Bob from Fluvanna

Palmyra, VA

#17 Oct 25, 2012
Concerned Citizen wrote:
Where is all the Lottery Money that is supposed to go the the school systems? Just wondering!
The lottery has turned into a way for the state to be able to allocate less money from their budget to the school systems. It sounds really good in their advertisements, but the legislators take what they anticipate lottery revenues to be for the schools into account as they develop the state budget each year.
Smoke and Mirrors

Charlottesville, VA

#18 Oct 25, 2012
Ask the school board why they budgeted ZERO dollars for utilities this year, and ZERO dollars for trash?
Go to the SB 10/10/12 meeting packet and read the financials. It's right there on page 60.

Compare it last year. They budgeted $778,000 for utilities last year. And $89,000 for trash last year. Read the 10/12/11 SB meeting packet and read the financials. It's right there on page 73.

Someone in the schools DIDN'T budget for those two items, yet that was the current source of "deficit" for this recent funding request. On top of it, compare how much they HAVE spent this year to last year, and they've spent LESS year-over-year.(658K vs 318K utilities),(46K vs 31K trash).

So...who messed up? Why are there several categories in the financials that the schools appropriated ZERO funds from. Don't believe everything the schools tell you. Look closer!

Just like the schools are telling you cutting sports is an option. They've waived two sets of numbers around in one week --$104K in savings and $86K in savings. What they didn't tell you is that the sports are run under a DIFFERENT ACCOUNT overseen by the athletic director, and almost completely self-sufficient due to pay and play. The little funding that does come from the schools main account is to cover coach stipends and busing. And guess how much they've paid in stipends so far this year? Only a little over $12,000.

The schools are not entirely forthright in their financials.

Stop repeating the mantra that the schools have had the lowest funding since 2007. Go look at the SB reports. FY 2011 the funds were $34,469,000. The school funds for FY2013 are $34,318,000 -- a difference of merely $150K. NOT A CRISIS! The schools just didn't get a huge budget increase that they expected this year and they'd didn't know how to handle it. You know what, most departments and non-profits got cut too this year. Not enough money to go around!
Fluco taxes

Charlottesville, VA

#19 Oct 25, 2012
To the person who wrote about tax collections and the person who wrote about raising the tax rate a mere 1 cent to make up the shortfall --

Tax collections right now are abysmal in Fluvanna. The county budgeted $700K in delinquent taxes, around 94% tax collection rate (2 cents of revenue) but right now, tax collection rates, according to the report at the recent BOS meeting, is about 90%. That is more than THREE cents of tax revenue. If we are behind that much, how can anyone think that raising taxes is GOOD? For anyone who makes the illogical argument that "delinquent taxes are good because the county gets more in the end from fees and such", well, that is crazy. On paper it looks good, but if you only have 90% of your paycheck coming in, your hands are tied.

Fluvanna has had to raise taxes 20% already since 2009, when the new high school was voted on and started. The prior BOS and SB who voted for it did so, and then kicked the can. They should've implemented a huge tax increase THEN, to stave off the snowballing crisis, but they were cowards because the knew the majority of the citizens were against the HS. That is why they denied the referendum. Blame the current BOS now, but their hands are tied with $7 million in debt service for the next twenty years -- they are stuck with debt, a bad economy, and decreased tax revenue. NO MORE MONEY TO GO AROUND!

I suppose the silver lining is that our tax collection isn't as bad as Louisa's, which is currently experiencing a 25% delinquency rate. But I wouldn't be surprised if we have that in Fluvanna in a year or so. THEN what are we going to do with even less revenue? Ask people to cough up even more?

Learn to live with less. Make tough choices. Everyone is right now. The schools, well, they can't have their cake (HS) and eat it too.
who cares

Wytheville, VA

#20 Oct 25, 2012
These people can't be to smart their mascot is a fluco. whatever that is? a shoe with wings? sounds like they need a new finance manager, I am tired of hearing about fluvanna schools money problems. They didn't think they were going to have enough money to open the new high school. Louisa county has to rebuild two schools and you dont see them crying for money. I know they got fema and insurance money but that didnt pay for the whole thing. just saying. I am starting to see just how poor fluvanna county is.
done with it

Charlottesville, VA

#22 Oct 26, 2012
Here's the problem...
BOS didn't give money requested.
THEN the Superintendent continued to spend rather than conserve as others would have to do if income is reduced. Additonal people were hired, things that weren't supposed to be purchased were, in short--everything the Superintendent said wouldn't happen/open/be purchased did...there were no brakes.
The School board played a game of chicken with the BOS and the BOS didn't blink. The crash now is the students, faculty, and parents who have to deal with the mistakes of the School Board.
taxpayer

Stanardsville, VA

#23 Oct 26, 2012
If real estate assessments are down, the taxes will have to go up, just to maintain current levels. Don't forget that the children going through the Fluvanna school system are our future leaders. You'd better respect those teachers!!!!!

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