Archive for March, 2010

Sunny spring day in the garden

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

It’s already the first day of spring and I haven’t planted the peas. Usually March 15th is my target day. All that wonderful snow was sure fun in December – and again in February – for sledding with the grandbabies through the pasture; that wonderful snow also kept me from clearing the stubble from the garden beds. This weekend was time to start catching up. The eight baby calves watched me working from their beds in the hay. Working in the garden helps me think. What a life!

The composite index- what is it and why should I care?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

The composite index or CPI is the state formula used to divide education dollars. It compares income levels, current tax rates, property values, other tax revenue, all features which describe a community’s “ability to pay.” Our ability to pay has increased in 2010 compared to other places mainly because our real estate values have not fallen as far as others.  “It’s all relative” actually applies here. Our CPI went up, meaning we would receive fewer state dollars ($5.2M less). Albemarle County also has some extremely wealthy people, whose income tends to raise the income statistics for the entire county. The composite index is evaluated every two years.

$$$ predictions

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

The General Assembly this month has decided to cushion the blow to Albemarle by the adoption of the new composite index by providing replacement funds for the upcoming year. What is coming after that? We know that in FY 2012, beginning July 1, 2011, the $5.2 M replacement funds will be cut in half, to $2.7M using the same composite index. In FY 2013, there will be NO replacement, thus we will have that $5.2M hole again compared to today’s budget. Also in FY13 the county will pay more into the VRS or VA Retirement System. How much more we do not know. The General Assembly postponed higher payments to make it easier for localities. But it will only be easier if we begin saving now.

Why is public education important?

Monday, March 15th, 2010

A strong education system is a keystone to Albemarle’s economic vitality. Education provides opportunity and skills to all students and helps each to achieve to the best of his or her ability and become a productive adult. When county taxpayers invest in education, they are “buying in” to the corporation at the lowest cost possible. Successful students will have more productive lives, be employed, support their families, and make contributions to our society as their strengths dictate. If we cut the essential educational processes and students fall behind or through the cracks in our safety net, higher costs will be paid in the future for many other social and justice services.

Everyone has high expectations for continued improvement in operations. With concerned citizens electing committed and energetic school board members, I am certain we will not be disappointed.