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vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for fredericksburg.com and The Free Lance-Star.

Check here for the latest reports on news from Stafford County. You can email her at vremmers@freelancestar.com.

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Supervisors to School Board: BFFs?

Stafford County supervisors had a change of heart at last night’s meeting. After initially voting to not release any of the 7% mid-year budget hold-back to the school system, they reconsidered the vote and decided unanimously to release 4% to the schools. That amounts to about $4 million of the $7 million that was held back pending a mid-year review.

Supervisors balked at releasing the entire 7% because they wanted a more detailed account of why the School Board needs it. School Board Chairman Patricia Healy did send a letter to the supervisors yesterday with some detail, but some supervisors wanted more information and more cooperation.

They took the re-vote as an opportunity to chastise the School Board, and to suggest School Board members reconsider their decision to dissolve a joint committee between the two elected boards.

“We are interested in making sure we continue the relationship with the School Board,” Supervisor Susan Stimpson said.

Supervisors Mark Dudenhefer and Gary Snellings both said they were not happy with the way the School Board handled the situation.

“I did not feel the School Board had met us halfway,” Snellings said. “They have to have a willingness to work very closely with us.”

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/staffordnews/2011/02/02/supervisors-to-school-board-bffs/

  • Dean Fetterolf

    It has become the common practice of this BOS to chastise and make unwelcome any public comment or action they do not like or support. Just review how they treated citizens during the comp plan process.

    We need a receptive and responsive government. Receptive to new ideas and opposing views and responsive to the needs of citizens.

    The school budget was approved by the SB and submitted last spring. It clearly laid out the needs for the year. The SB has specific constitutional and legislative authority, powers and responsibilities. By law, the SB cannot run a deficit unlike the BOS – The SB watches that very closely.

    Cyclical replacement of computers, buses, text books and facility maintenance are way behind schedule due to continued budget strangulation by the BOS. Any savings accrued thru the year should be used to ease those deficiencies at the end of the FY.

    School employees pay far more than county employees for their share of health insurance. How about a premium holiday for them like they voted for the county staff!

    Its time for the parents of nearly 27,000 students to speak up and support BOS candidates who support education.

  • Dennis Silver

    The BOS is obviously not even reading the letter provided to them. That letter does indeed spell out many specific items to be addressed. Maybe our BOS needs to go back to school themselves, if only to experience first hand the needs our current students and schools have yet to be met.

  • Dana

    It’s my understanding that the school system has approx 220 unfilled positions this year (FY11) that were budgeted for full salaries and money was handed over from tax payers to pay for them. I think the Supervisors want to know what happened to the money they received for these unfilled positions. These positions have been unfilled for approx 6 months. There should probably be some significant cost savings there. That’s a lot of money. Perhaps this unused money can be used to pay for cyclical replacements, etc. (as Dean mentioned above). Someone in Central Office needs to account for that money.

    I think some of our Central Office staff has a problem accounting for money. Most times when citizens or school board members ask how much a specific items cost – the staff never can tell us. They always say they’ll get back to us …and never do. All the money should be specificially accounted for – especially since we’re always asking for more.

    We just need some clarity from staff. I think the School Board wants to know as well.

  • Fed Up

    It’s ridiculous to tell the school system that they will be given a certain amount for the year, then yank millions from that midway through. I do doubt that 220 positions were funded and not filled. I would like to see the source of information for that. But, with categorical funding, I don’t know that money budgeted for salaries and benefits can be used for cyclical replacements.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    More than 200 positions COULD go unfilled next year if the BOS continues to cut, cut, cut. The BOS had been repeatedly warned for over a year that the Federal stimulus money would expire. The state used that stimulus money to SUPPLANT (not supplement) their contributions to education. Richmond made if clear they expected the local government to pick up that tab.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    If you want to talk about accountability us just need to check the audit reports (CAFRs) of the BOS. 3 years in a row they were cited for not balancing their books in a timely fashion. A year ago, for the 4th year in a row the same problem was uncorrected and finally declared a “material weakness.” A very serious audit finding. In the most recent audit the BOS was found to have committed another “material weakness” for failing to properly account for $6.4M. The schools system has had perfect audits for many years in a row.