09 February 2017
Only one person showed up at the Fluvanna School Board meeting Wednesday (Feb. 1) to weigh in on the superintendent search.
The Board held a meeting at 5:30 p.m. to talk about the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) budget proposal and dedicated time at 7 p.m. to hear from the community about what it wants in a new superintendent.
Gena Keller, who was Fluvanna’s superintendent for seven years, began working in January for the Virginia Department of Education.
Then-assistant superintendent Chuck Winkler stepped up to fill the job in the interim. Winkler made it clear he wants the job permanently.
The Board has until July 1 to decide and said it wants input from the public.
First, the Board requested that people fill out an online survey about what qualities a superintendent should have. That survey is now closed. More than 200 people responded, the schools said.
Next, Board members asked the public to speak to them in person at Wednesday’s meeting.
Jimmy Koczan, a teacher, was the only person who came to speak.
“I’m here to voice my strong support for Mr. Winkler,” Koczan said. “He was part of the team who got us through that awful time six years ago when we faced a 12 percent budget cut. It’s no accident we made the strides we’ve made over the past years. There is no question he knows where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. We can’t afford stagnation… He’s a straight shooter. We’ve spent six years building this relationship. Unless there is a law requiring a search, what are we searching for?”
Board member Charles Rittenhouse said he expected a larger turnout.
“I was hoping for a big crowd in support of Mr. Winkler,” said Rittenhouse, adding he had several calls from school employees supporting Winkler.
During the budget presentation, Winkler gave details on the proposed FY18 budget. The FY17 budget is $38,771,124. Winkler suggested the Board request $472,292 more for FY18.
He recommended the money be spent on increases to one of the two salary scales, adding an exploratory teacher at the middle school, upping the coaching stipend, increasing the amount insured can put into health savings accounts, and offering comprehensive rather than just preventative dental coverage.
Winkler said while most others’ healthcare costs rose, Fluvanna schools’ has not.
“Health care costs based on our claims have dropped,” he said. He suggested the savings be used to bring down the monthly cost of the insured by $10.
The Board will vote on the final budget at its Feb. 8 meeting. They will present their request to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 15.