The Albemarle County School Board and Board of Supervisors will have at least one more conversation about the FY15 budget.
During a Thursday meeting, the School Board decided that they will return to the Supervisors with a request for one-time money. The School Board did not set an amount for the request, but the itemized list—which the Board says depicts the types of programming to which such funds could be applied–totals $1.28 million.
On May 7, the Supervisors requested this list in order to obtain a better understanding of how the school division would use one-time money. The School Board, however, feels it is their responsibility as elected officials to determine how the funds would be used.
“I want us to do things that we think are important for our strategic plan, and if there’s one-time expenditures that we can put back in, I would be in favor of doing that,” School Board Chair Ned Gallaway said. “I’m also not particularly fond of taking a list now for them to scrutinize or pick and choose what they may or may not potentially fund with one-time monies.”
School Board member Pam Moynihan agreed.
“This is a different kind of exercise,” Moynihan said. “I’m so used to just having them say to the School Board in the past ‘You do your budget, and you know what do to and how to do it, and you’re the experts on the schools.’”
Local government has stated that it’s best to avoid using one-time monies for recurring expenses. As a result, the School Board’s list does not include recurring costs like teacher salaries to reduce class size increases.
According to Jackson Zimmerman, Director of Fiscal Services, this list of potential uses includes:
Despite the list, the school division said it’s tough to say exactly what they would fund, if given more money.
“One of the difficulties with being specific with the Supervisors is that they aren’t being specific about a figure, so you can’t even list the items in terms of priorities,” Schools Spokesman Phil Giaramita said.
The School Board also received good news about a $63,000 donation for the construction of youth tennis courts at Crozet Elementary School.
Dean Tistadt, the school division’s Chief Operating Officer, estimated that the project would require an additional $6,000 for project oversight and contingency. Additionally, Tistadt said, Albemarle’s Department of Parks and Recreation has agreed to perform long-term maintenance on the courts, and that the school division is still in conversation about which entity will cover the $6,000.
Superintendent Pam Moran said the skill sets tennis requires are already embedded in the division’s physical education curriculum.
While the School Board was favorably disposed to the project, they requested more information and will discuss the project more fully at the May 22 meeting.
The School Board also voted 4-1 to advertise a one percent pay increase for themselves. Jason Buyaki voted against the measure. Eric Strucko and Barbara Massie Mouly were absent.
Currently, School Board members receive an annual salary of $6,152. The chair receives an additional $1,800, and the vice-chair $35 per meeting. An increase would raise the annual salary to $6,214. The chair and vice-chair stipends would remain the same.
The Albemarle School Board will meet again on Thursday, May 22.