In Virginia, county school boards are composed of one member from each district in that county, and sometimes include an at-large member. Members are elected to four-year terms and serve as the leaders of the school district by setting the policies for and choosing the leadership of public schools, among other duties. The Fluvanna County School Board has five members, one from each district.

Danny Reed and Gary Davis Jr. are facing off for the Fork Union District seat on the Fluvanna County School Board. Whoever is elected will replace Perrie Johnson, who has held the seat since winning the 2015 election for it.

Charlottesville Tomorrow designed this questionnaire based on more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey. Davis’ answers to the questionnaire can be read below. Reed did not respond to multiple requests to participate.

Last year, the school board worked hard to increase teacher salaries, cutting other programs to do so. What are your goals for the budget for next year and how would you reach those goals?

Gary Davis: My budget goals for next year are to renovate the bathrooms at Central Elementary, install generators for the walk-in freezers at the elementary and middle schools, reduce employee insurance costs, and increase pay for our food service workers, custodians, and bus drivers. To achieve these goals, I plan to prioritize them during budget discussions.

Danny Reed: Did not provide a response.

Like many school districts, Fluvanna is struggling to hire and retain teachers. How would you, as a school board member, address this issue?

Davis: It is necessary to analyze the data related to why teachers are leaving Fluvanna County Public Schools. I plan to establish a Recruitment and Retention Advisory Committee to address this issue. The committee will work toward finding solutions to enhance policies and practices that can make Fluvanna a desirable place for teachers to work. The committee will explore opportunities to provide specific professional development training to enhance their skills and expertise. We need to raise instructional assistants’ pay, decrease insurance costs, alleviate their workload, and provide resources for marketing campaigns, signing bonuses, and training opportunities.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Districts are also struggling to hire and retain bus drivers. How would you propose addressing this issue?

Davis: After speaking to the Transportation Director for Fluvanna County Public Schools, we have sufficient applicants. What we do need to address is getting our bus drivers the recognition and pay they deserve. They deserve to get paid more as they are one of the unsung heroes in our school system. Their jobs should focus solely on driving and safety. Bus aides will help assist the 50 to 60 students on their buses daily. Our community needs to be kind to them. Parents’ criticism is unwarranted because buses running late on most days are outside of their control.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Tell us about the achievement gaps for students in your district. What sort of programs do you favor to close those gaps?

Davis: Achievement gaps in reading, writing, math, history, and science between Fluvanna County Public Schools student groups continue to be a significant challenge. These groups include African Americans, Hispanics, and students with disabilities, who lag behind their white peers by 15% to 34% depending on the course subject. To tackle this issue, I propose setting up an Achievement Gap Committee to enhance cultural competence, provide extended learning opportunities, reach out to students’ families, and ensure comprehensive support for all students.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Tell us about student safety in your district. How should the district keep students safe in school?

Davis: Student safety in Fluvanna County Public Schools should be a top priority. The district needs help from the community to address some violent actions that have been happening in our schools. Implementing a School Division Task Force consisting of a School Board member, students, parents, law enforcement, and our mental health coordinator to help create policies. To address school violence and bullying, we need a collaborative effort between educators, parents, and the community. Consistent disciplinary actions against students harming others are essential. We must investigate all incidents and address mental health concerns to identify underlying issues contributing to violent behavior.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Davis: I do not support adopting the new model policies for Fluvanna County Public Schools. Our Superintendent recently addressed Governor Youngkin’s policies at a school board meeting. Based on his advice and expertise, he believes our current policies already meet the standard. As a school board member, I will listen to the experts and our Superintendent’s advice.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Tell us about the history and social studies curriculum you would support your district using.

Davis: I believe in teaching the positive and negative aspects of world and American history. It was shameful that I only learned about the Tulsa Massacre a century later. We can learn how to shape our future by understanding our past. Moreover, we require more civics education. Fortunately, Virginia is one of seven states that mandate a full year of civics education. Since 2000, the federal government has only spent about five cents per student annually on civics education, compared to $50 per student on STEM. I am interested in comparing the situation in Fluvanna County Public Schools with this.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Are there any other important issues facing the school district that you’d like voters to know about?

Davis: Mental health is a crucial issue to be aware of. Fluvanna County Public Schools has recently recruited a mental health coordinator who has made significant progress in just four months. She has collaborated with local companies to provide in-school counseling sessions for students, which will help the mental health of our students. Providing her with the necessary resources to continue her work is essential. Bullying is also a topic that needs to be addressed. We need to establish a framework for proper discipline and investigation in physical, mental, and online bullying cases, and research successful anti-bullying programs to implement.

Reed: Did not provide a response.

Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, night. The Virginia Department of Elections will publish election results in real time, as they arrive from precincts around the state. To view them, head to this link. These are unofficial results until they are certified. Here’s more about how to get election results.

  • Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
  • Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
  • Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
  • Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
  • Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
  • Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.

Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.


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