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The highlights 

  • Board chair and vice chair will be named at Thursday’s meeting
  • A presentation on the recommendation to change the name of Paul H. Cale Elementary School  to Mountain View
  • An early look at the budget projection for the next fiscal year
  • Thursday’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Lane Auditorium of the Albemarle County Office Building. The agenda can be found here

The organizational leadership selection, a formal name change presentation and updates on the division’s budget are among crucial items Thursday on the Albemarle County School Board’s first meeting this year.

A chair and a vice chair will be selected at the meeting, said Phil Giaramita, spokesman of county schools.

Jonno Alcaro previously served as chairman, but it wouldn’t be unusual for him to be selected for a second term, Giaramita said. Graham Paige, of the Samuel Miller Magisterial District, currently serves as vice chairman.

In addition to these roles, there will be several other organizational leadership votes, including board members for the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center; the Piedmont Regional Education Program, which serves students with disabilities; and the audit and the discipline committees.

The meeting also will be the first for two new School Board members: Judy Le, who succeeded Jason Buyaki in the Rivanna Magisterial District, and Ellen Osborne, who succeeded Stephen Koleszar in the Scottsville magisterial District.

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Dennis S. Rooker, chairman of the committee charged with reviewing the namesake of Paul H. Cale Elementary School, is scheduled to present the replacement that the committee has recommended, Mountain View Elementary.

Rooker’s presentation is informational, and board members are slated to vote on the recommendation at the Jan. 23 School Board meeting.

The process of whether to rename the school was set in motion in October 2018, after a presentation on segregation in American schools referenced an article in Commentary magazine, which, through extensive paraphrasing, stated that Cale argued against integration in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

Cale served as superintendent of Albemarle schools from 1947 to 1967.

Current Superintendent Matt Haas took into consideration the input of a 12-person advisory committee and gave his own recommendation to the board at an October’s meeting. The committee had concluded that the name change was warranted, and more than 800 students took part in the voting process to pick a new name.

Eventually, all 14 school buildings with namesakes and the division’s existing policy on naming school buildings will be reviewed.

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 Among several items on the division’s budget, School Board members will get an update on the Red Hill Elementary School renovation and expansion, a two-phase project.

The first phase was completed in the 2016-17 school year.  The second phase’s budget, which will be discussed on Thursday, is nearly $5.3 million.

Giaramita said the project adds 6,300 square feet to the school, including a new gym, space for staff offices and also some storage areas.

“The current gym will be renovated and will become the new media center,” he said. “We will also add some parking at the school and some outdoor learning areas.”

The board will also get an update on the division’s budget, Giaramita said.

“It looks like our state revenue is going to increase more than $7.5 million, which will be [a] 15% increase,” he said.

The increase is based on several factors, including adjusted gross income, sales tax revenue and real estate value.